Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register
  • The latest TMC Podcast (#17) is now available on YouTube and all major podcast networks. We covered EV Tax Credit 2.0, Model Y & 3 Gangbuster Sales, Low Model X Demand, and California FSD Drama.

Thoughts on Pickup Truck Beds

The fastback design with the high sided bed is a fundamental blunder for a pickup truck. I know that the bracing from the back of the vehicle to the cab is part of the structure for stiffness, but having the high sides interferes significantly with the use of the cargo bed. Previous trucks such as the Honda Ridgleline and the Chevrolet Avalanche (now discontinued) have also been designed with this configuration. I would argue that they have not been as popular due to the limitations I outline below.

Maybe take a look at the stats on how many pickup owners put toppers on their trucks.

Imagine a pallet of boxes of stone tiles for a renovation project loaded in your truck by a home improvement supplier. Easy enough for them to slide the load in from the rear using a forklift. But have you ever unloaded such a load when you get home? You likely don’t have a forklift. You are going to have to get in the truck and break down the pallet and unload the boxes of tiles one by one by hand. Each box is going to need to be moved to the back tailgate and then moved to the ground. Its going to require numerous cycles climbing in and out of the truck from the back. In a classic pickup truck, this task is not nearly as constrained by the sides of the truck so moving around is easier. In fact, many of the boxes can likely be lifted out from the side without climbing in the truck.

The act of loading and unloading cargo from the side is quite common for smaller objects on a daily basis. Imagine loading kids sports team equipment. A bucket of baseballs and a bag full of catcher’s gear is easily tossed over the side of a regular truck and easy enough to lift back out over the side. The same load is much less convenient if I have slide it in using the tailgate. Not only do I have to open the tailgate, but then I likely have to climb up in the truck just to reach it.

Every truck owner knows that cargo always slides to the front of the bed due to the deceleration of braking. The ability to reach cargo items and either lift them out over the side of the truck or at least slide them to the back where they can be unloaded from the tailgate without climbing up in the truck is a huge convenience factor.

The height of the sides of the bed, especially up near the front need to be no higher than can be reached over by a typical adult standing on the ground. Armpit height, essentially. The newer Fords have made the sides so high that they are losing this functionality. Its one of the reasons I keep my older Chevy and don’t really care for many of the newer trucks I see.

It is difficult to get a sense of scale in the photos, but the narrowness of the cargo area looks disappointing. Hopefully its not just the minimum 48” wide between the wheel wells. Many loads are wider than that. Things like bikes laid over on their sides, side-by-side ATVs, furniture, etc. Also, for lighter stuff, total volume may be the limit before the weight capacity. Having a wider bed with more square footage and more volume is always handy.

More than disappointing, the narrowness can actually be a problem. Climbing up in the truck alongside the load is often needed during loading and unloading, and a lack of space can make this very inconvenient and even a bit dangerous (in terms of falling out of the truck bed). In some cases, it could preclude even being able to access the tie-downs, or un-band a large crate, etc.

For example, in the demo, there was not a lot of room for the ATV rider to get off the ATV.

The tailgate ramp is really cool. As is the lowering of the suspension to reduce the loading height.

But the lack of the traditional straps at the corners to hold up the tailgate when open could be an issue. The tailgate needs to be able to withstand heavy cargo being hefted or dumped out on its end plus a couple of large guys standing on the tailgate doing the loading (and the dynamic loads of all that activity). Imagine the case of the crate full of stone tile being unloaded. First thing you are going to do is climb in the truck and stack half the boxes on the edge of the tailgate. Then climb down and finish unloading them. Holding up several thousand pounds of load from just the hinge end seems like an unnecessarily tough engineering challenge that will eventually fail. Just add the straps.

Sharp stainless edges around the cargo area are just a bad idea. Especially the pointy corners when the tailgate is open. Cargo is going to get dinged, and so are the people loading it. Imagine taking that edge of the open tailgate in the shin - ouch! Stainless with rounded edges might be OK. Softer plastic tailgate and side caps would be preferred.

The space around the wheel wells appears to be filled with storage compartments in your design. That storage would be tremendously more useful if the compartments opened to the outside of the vehicle.

The back bumper needs to be designed to be able to easily climb in and out of the truck.

Stake pocket holes on the sides are actually handy things to have. Even if you never extend the vertical sides of the truck with plywood, it’s a useful place to hook tie-down straps and bungee cords.

From my experience with other trucks, the tie-down anchor loops inside the bed need to be larger than they are typically designed. Often you have to reach down between the load and the side and get the hook engaged with limited ability to reach it and angle it. Put 4 sheets of plywood in the bed hanging over the tailgate in the up position. Now try and hook the strap onto the anchor point down inside the bed.

For cargo like dirt, the bed needs to be reasonably uniform surface that can be unloaded with a shovel without damage and without annoyingly snagging the shovel edge on things. There should be no holes or crevices for the dirt to get lodged in or leak out of the truck,

There definitely should be no hatches on the bed surface. Not even for the spare tire. The design appears to repeat this same rookie mistake that Honda made. Imagine a load of sand, or black dirt, or rotting wet leaves/compost. Homeowners do haul this stuff in their light trucks. Getting it all cleaned out of the truck again is not going to be possible if there are nooks and crannies and hatches with edges and lips on the surface of the bed. That storage compartment under the hatch is going to be filled with dirt and water and crud even from just the weather.

Also, the gap between the bed and the tailgate needs to tolerate the unloading of dirt, construction or demolition debris, rocks, gravel, etc. Shovels need to be able to slide over the gap and the gap needs to be easily cleared such that the tailgate can be closed again. The inner surface of the tailgate should be uniform as well (please no cup holders or other latches or features on the inner surface)

The bed interior also needs to be somewhat anti-slip. Think about climbing up in the truck in the rain or in the winter with snow on your boots. In the photos, it appears there are rubber strips intended to address that issue, but they are likely not sufficient. A mild diamond plate texture in the steel itself would be preferred. Or maybe the coin-bump pattern used on some industrial flooring. Other truck beds are ribbed longitudinally.

I personally like using a poly bed-liner in my truck with a longitudinal rib pattern. The ribs allow small amounts of water, snow, and sand not to be a slip hazard and keep cargo from sitting directly in the puddles. Most poly bed-liners also have a crinkly texture that provides good foot traction. Meanwhile, the poly allows sliding of heavy cargo in and out.

Also annoying about the sloped back design is impairment of visibility. When parking a larger vehicle like a pickup truck, the ability to see out the back is critical since it will likely always be a tight fit. Its also important to be able to keep an eye on the cargo to make sure its not shifting around, falling out, and the tarp is not blowing off. That need for cargo visibility would also extend to towed trailers. It looks like the vehicle could be driven with the roll-top open and perhaps cameras can take the place of a rear window and side mirrors, but the cameras would need wide mount points to see around a maximum-width trailer or boat when backing or changing lanes.

If one truly wants to take advantage of 14,000 lb towing capacity, you are going to want to think about using a gooseneck or 5th wheel trailer configuration. The high sloping sides could interfere with 5th wheel trailers like campers. The hatch in the middle of the load bed will interfere with where the gooseneck or 5th wheel hitch would need to be mounted.

Don’t forget to include an electric brake controller standard.

Other critiques:

Again, the scale is difficult to appreciate in the photos, but headroom in the rear seats looks to be limited. If the seating in the back is not suitable for full sized adults, then I would prefer it to just be jump seats and use the saved wheelbase length for 6 more inches of cargo space.

The wheels on the concept truck are not my favorite.
 
I'd definitely buy this truck:

Cybertruck_OpenBed.jpg
 

UCF3

Member
Sep 1, 2017
464
1,864
FL
If you want to unload that pallet of tiles when you get home just grease up the ramp and lower the back suspension. Voila

You also mention visibility out the back for parking in tight spaces. The backup camera can do most of that but I’m sure we will have 360 Tesla cameras by 2021
 
  • Like
Reactions: David Sowden

strider

Active Member
Oct 20, 2010
4,109
1,982
NE Oklahoma
So I'm with you to a degree. Note that a lot of people have hard covers on their trucks that have to be folded every time. In your "pallet of stone" example, yes, you would have the cover off, and the raised sides are a liability. But your "sporting goods" example would not be any different if you had a regular truck w/ a hard cover. You always have to go to the tailgate, lower it, and slide the stuff into the back, same as the CT.

Further, Elon is going after sci-fi nerd version of the Cowboy Cadillac crowd. I live in pickup country and a huge number of people NEVER use their truck for anything more than a daily driver/family hauler/tow their boat to the lake. So for those people, having a secure storage area in the bed is a huge plus to store luggage, boating/hunting stuff, etc.

As for the lack of back bumper, my brother-in-law just bought a new F-250. That thing has a set of steps that drop down from the tailgate so you can climb into the bed w/ the tailgate down. Tesla could do the same.

All that to say, we are more than 3 years away from production. A lot of the details will change (tie down points, etc) as they get closer. And like everything else from Tesla, when they ship it, you can buy it or not. Rivian (and possible Ford) will likely beat the CT to production so if you want a more traditional truck you should go that way.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: kayak1 and Jaff
So I'm with you to a degree. Note that a lot of people have hard covers on their trucks that have to be folded every time. … your "sporting goods" example would not be any different if you had a regular truck w/ a hard cover. You always have to go to the tailgate, lower it, and slide the stuff into the back, same as the CT.

For me, based on the trucks I have owned over the years, I'm personally not a fan of covered truck beds - not toppers nor hard covers, nor roll tops, nor cloth covers. I realize many people are, though. If they build it with an open bed, they can also offer the covered version as an add-on option and satisfy both sets of buyers..
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jaff
Any new 4 wheel drive orm the last 10 years sits too high for reaching over the bed rails to access stuff.

I know, and I hate it. Part of the reason I am still driving a 2004 truck. The whole bed and loading heights are also jacked way up. The problem is that they never ask people to unload a truck full of block at a marketing focus group. They just show them the jacked up truck and everyone points to that one as looking more heavy duty.
 
I know, and I hate it. Part of the reason I am still driving a 2004 truck. The whole bed and loading heights are also jacked way up. The problem is that they never ask people to unload a truck full of block at a marketing focus group. They just show them the jacked up truck and everyone points to that one as looking more heavy duty.

Yah I hear ya. Wish I knew if it was standard width though. EG plywood size.
 

Fishy Fish

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QanC47gRBaE
Jul 7, 2019
148
392
BC
I believe I heard on one of the test ride videos that it was 5' wide when someone getting a ride asked the employee driving it. Makes sense when you look at the thickness of the sides, if the overall width of the truck is almost 79"
 
Cannot imagine calling it a full sized truck if it cannot fit 48" wide sheets in there. But knowing its the same width as a regular truck, and the inside of the bed shows no wheel-well bump outs, I would fear the whole bed is only 50" wide.

Well, plywood is 48 inches. So that will work.
 
The fastback design with the high sided bed is a fundamental blunder for a pickup truck. I know that the bracing from the back of the vehicle to the cab is part of the structure for stiffness, but having the high sides interferes significantly with the use of the cargo bed. Previous trucks such as the Honda Ridgleline and the Chevrolet Avalanche (now discontinued) have also been designed with this configuration. I would argue that they have not been as popular due to the limitations I outline below.

Maybe take a look at the stats on how many pickup owners put toppers on their trucks.

Imagine a pallet of boxes of stone tiles for a renovation project loaded in your truck by a home improvement supplier. Easy enough for them to slide the load in from the rear using a forklift. But have you ever unloaded such a load when you get home? You likely don’t have a forklift. You are going to have to get in the truck and break down the pallet and unload the boxes of tiles one by one by hand. Each box is going to need to be moved to the back tailgate and then moved to the ground. Its going to require numerous cycles climbing in and out of the truck from the back. In a classic pickup truck, this task is not nearly as constrained by the sides of the truck so moving around is easier. In fact, many of the boxes can likely be lifted out from the side without climbing in the truck.

The act of loading and unloading cargo from the side is quite common for smaller objects on a daily basis. Imagine loading kids sports team equipment. A bucket of baseballs and a bag full of catcher’s gear is easily tossed over the side of a regular truck and easy enough to lift back out over the side. The same load is much less convenient if I have slide it in using the tailgate. Not only do I have to open the tailgate, but then I likely have to climb up in the truck just to reach it.

Every truck owner knows that cargo always slides to the front of the bed due to the deceleration of braking. The ability to reach cargo items and either lift them out over the side of the truck or at least slide them to the back where they can be unloaded from the tailgate without climbing up in the truck is a huge convenience factor.

The height of the sides of the bed, especially up near the front need to be no higher than can be reached over by a typical adult standing on the ground. Armpit height, essentially. The newer Fords have made the sides so high that they are losing this functionality. Its one of the reasons I keep my older Chevy and don’t really care for many of the newer trucks I see.

It is difficult to get a sense of scale in the photos, but the narrowness of the cargo area looks disappointing. Hopefully its not just the minimum 48” wide between the wheel wells. Many loads are wider than that. Things like bikes laid over on their sides, side-by-side ATVs, furniture, etc. Also, for lighter stuff, total volume may be the limit before the weight capacity. Having a wider bed with more square footage and more volume is always handy.

More than disappointing, the narrowness can actually be a problem. Climbing up in the truck alongside the load is often needed during loading and unloading, and a lack of space can make this very inconvenient and even a bit dangerous (in terms of falling out of the truck bed). In some cases, it could preclude even being able to access the tie-downs, or un-band a large crate, etc.

For example, in the demo, there was not a lot of room for the ATV rider to get off the ATV.

The tailgate ramp is really cool. As is the lowering of the suspension to reduce the loading height.

But the lack of the traditional straps at the corners to hold up the tailgate when open could be an issue. The tailgate needs to be able to withstand heavy cargo being hefted or dumped out on its end plus a couple of large guys standing on the tailgate doing the loading (and the dynamic loads of all that activity). Imagine the case of the crate full of stone tile being unloaded. First thing you are going to do is climb in the truck and stack half the boxes on the edge of the tailgate. Then climb down and finish unloading them. Holding up several thousand pounds of load from just the hinge end seems like an unnecessarily tough engineering challenge that will eventually fail. Just add the straps.

Sharp stainless edges around the cargo area are just a bad idea. Especially the pointy corners when the tailgate is open. Cargo is going to get dinged, and so are the people loading it. Imagine taking that edge of the open tailgate in the shin - ouch! Stainless with rounded edges might be OK. Softer plastic tailgate and side caps would be preferred.

The space around the wheel wells appears to be filled with storage compartments in your design. That storage would be tremendously more useful if the compartments opened to the outside of the vehicle.

The back bumper needs to be designed to be able to easily climb in and out of the truck.

Stake pocket holes on the sides are actually handy things to have. Even if you never extend the vertical sides of the truck with plywood, it’s a useful place to hook tie-down straps and bungee cords.

From my experience with other trucks, the tie-down anchor loops inside the bed need to be larger than they are typically designed. Often you have to reach down between the load and the side and get the hook engaged with limited ability to reach it and angle it. Put 4 sheets of plywood in the bed hanging over the tailgate in the up position. Now try and hook the strap onto the anchor point down inside the bed.

For cargo like dirt, the bed needs to be reasonably uniform surface that can be unloaded with a shovel without damage and without annoyingly snagging the shovel edge on things. There should be no holes or crevices for the dirt to get lodged in or leak out of the truck,

There definitely should be no hatches on the bed surface. Not even for the spare tire. The design appears to repeat this same rookie mistake that Honda made. Imagine a load of sand, or black dirt, or rotting wet leaves/compost. Homeowners do haul this stuff in their light trucks. Getting it all cleaned out of the truck again is not going to be possible if there are nooks and crannies and hatches with edges and lips on the surface of the bed. That storage compartment under the hatch is going to be filled with dirt and water and crud even from just the weather.

Also, the gap between the bed and the tailgate needs to tolerate the unloading of dirt, construction or demolition debris, rocks, gravel, etc. Shovels need to be able to slide over the gap and the gap needs to be easily cleared such that the tailgate can be closed again. The inner surface of the tailgate should be uniform as well (please no cup holders or other latches or features on the inner surface)

The bed interior also needs to be somewhat anti-slip. Think about climbing up in the truck in the rain or in the winter with snow on your boots. In the photos, it appears there are rubber strips intended to address that issue, but they are likely not sufficient. A mild diamond plate texture in the steel itself would be preferred. Or maybe the coin-bump pattern used on some industrial flooring. Other truck beds are ribbed longitudinally.

I personally like using a poly bed-liner in my truck with a longitudinal rib pattern. The ribs allow small amounts of water, snow, and sand not to be a slip hazard and keep cargo from sitting directly in the puddles. Most poly bed-liners also have a crinkly texture that provides good foot traction. Meanwhile, the poly allows sliding of heavy cargo in and out.

Also annoying about the sloped back design is impairment of visibility. When parking a larger vehicle like a pickup truck, the ability to see out the back is critical since it will likely always be a tight fit. Its also important to be able to keep an eye on the cargo to make sure its not shifting around, falling out, and the tarp is not blowing off. That need for cargo visibility would also extend to towed trailers. It looks like the vehicle could be driven with the roll-top open and perhaps cameras can take the place of a rear window and side mirrors, but the cameras would need wide mount points to see around a maximum-width trailer or boat when backing or changing lanes.

If one truly wants to take advantage of 14,000 lb towing capacity, you are going to want to think about using a gooseneck or 5th wheel trailer configuration. The high sloping sides could interfere with 5th wheel trailers like campers. The hatch in the middle of the load bed will interfere with where the gooseneck or 5th wheel hitch would need to be mounted.

Don’t forget to include an electric brake controller standard.

Other critiques:

Again, the scale is difficult to appreciate in the photos, but headroom in the rear seats looks to be limited. If the seating in the back is not suitable for full sized adults, then I would prefer it to just be jump seats and use the saved wheelbase length for 6 more inches of cargo space.

The wheels on the concept truck are not my favorite.


Regarding side load/unloading. This truck has a tonneau cover. Every truck with a tonneau get loaded from the back with small items like sports gear. It is a downside to the covers.

It is my understanding that all the storage over the wheels opens to the outside.

The design lets you put tie-down any where you want. I have a similar system on my Titan and it works great.

The bed can get a spray-in liner for anti-slip. Personally, I hate them and prefer metal beds because I can I tie things down when I don't want them to move but slide them easily.

"but the cameras would need wide mount points" This true of all trucks. That is why you see them with extended mirrors. I am not sure of any trucks other than duallys that ship stock with the extra wide mirrors necessary for wide loads. They are a pain in normal daily use.

The high bed sides are not likely going to be the problem with a 5th wheel. I think the bigger issue will be the inability to attach to the frame of the vehicle.

"There definitely should be no hatches on the bed surface. Not even for the spare tire. The design appears to repeat this same rookie mistake that Honda made." I whole-heartedly agreee.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Jaff
Regarding side load/unloading. This truck has a tonneau cover. Every truck with a tonneau get loaded from the back with small items like sports gear. It is a downside to the covers.
I get it that some people like having the cover. I personally prefer not to have that downside.

It is my understanding that all the storage over the wheels opens to the outside.
Cool!

The bed can get a spray-in liner for anti-slip. Personally, I hate them and prefer metal beds because I can I tie things down when I don't want them to move but slide them easily.
Stainless seems like a good choice of material if it had the right texture or rib pattern. But flat seems like a hazard. Try climbing in that bed with snowy boots on flat stainless and you will be taking a quick ride back down the ramp.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jkeyser14
I get it that some people like having the cover. I personally prefer not to have that downside.


Cool!


Stainless seems like a good choice of material if it had the right texture or rib pattern. But flat seems like a hazard. Try climbing in that bed with snowy boots on flat stainless and you will be taking a quick ride back down the ramp.

You are right. Flat stainless will be a nightmare. I don't like bed covers either. I am redneck style truck owner who uses the bed of my truck to haul wood, sand, rocks, and empty beer cans. Covers just slow my roll.
 

Barklikeadog

Active Member
Jul 13, 2016
2,030
2,077
PA
excellent post, Keeney. I've brought up several of these points along with others, you did a great job consolidating them.

Another couple things:

1. The bed appears to be solid all around the base. There is nowhere for the water (or blood) to drain out except the rear with the tailgate down. Fluids need to drain out at any time. It would
not be great to have fluids back there on a pretty flat surface.... specially in a freezing winter. FYI don't try to walk on that ramp in the winter, baaaad idea.

2. Rollup top: If you think it is waterproof, you're wrong. Unless a truck cap overlaps (undercover) the bed and gate, water will make it's way in. See post 1 (drainage)

3. When that top rolls up, whatever is on it (rainwater, ice, snow) is going to fall onto the contents of your bed. Who wants wet luggage?

4. That top is rolled into a compartment. Is it possible to clean that compartment of water, ice and dirt? Things could get hairy for whatever mechanism is in there. Imagine rolling up the top in winter or rain, stowing your luggage, and then it doesn't come back down.

5. How durable is the top? It's very thin. Will it work with damage? There's a reason companies like Undercover have advertising photos of football teams standing on the cover. Because we beat up our covers.

I cringe when I see a company like Rivian with a bed compartment covering the spare tire. What if you have a load of dirt back there and blow a tire? Can't get to your spare.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kayak1

Nocturnal

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Aug 23, 2018
7,639
46,571
Deepening Crisis!
Loading from the side of a bed is a recipe for injuring yourself. Yes, we do that a lot with a standard truck. Why? Because otherwise you have to climb up into the thing and walk into the bed. With a built in ramp that's no longer a problem. Having used pick ups for years to load and unload bulky and or heavy things for trade shows and the like, that ramp is a godsend and I couldn't care less about side loading. Not to mention that we now have a built in "cap" to keep your things secured.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top