Fiat Chrysler applied for a patent three weeks ago for a device that describes a new kind of "work surface assembly" to be added to Ram pickup trucks.

Is it an addition to the bed or just a new and improved pickup tailgate? We've seen a few of those before , and they were usually welcome additions. Or could it be an added slide out or swing out device somewhere else in the bed? Check out this illustration to decide for yourself.


Depending on how you look at it, the patent might simply a way to reinforce a tailgate to turn it into a better workbench - which every pickup truck owner in history has done on their own anyway. If you can slap on a portable vise or plug a power tool into the rear box somewhere, so much the better.

As the typically verbose language in the patent application puts it in the abstract: "A vehicle includes a cargo bed attached to a rear of a cab. The cargo bed includes a plurality of walls defining a periphery of the cargo bed. At least one of the plurality of walls includes a storage compartment formed therein. A work surface assembly includes a worktable and a plurality of arms attached to the worktable and pivotally attached to a wall of the storage compartment at a location inside of the storage compartment. The work surface assembly is pivotal between a stowed position in which the work surface assembly is wholly contained within the storage compartment and a deployed position in which the worktable and a portion of each arm extend out of the storage compartment."

That should be as clear as mud. But our sources at Allpar say it's coming, no matter how you describe it in English.

There's a lot of description in the application about storage boxes that slide into something-or-other. But the patent could have nothing to do with tail gates at all. It could describe a new shelf that slides out of the Ram's side pocket storage bins, or Ramboxes. That could be hugely useful for all kinds of hunters, campers, contractors, and do-it-your-selfers. Check out this illustration, one of a dozen included in the patent. Sure looks like a Rambox: