I'm a pickup owner, and I love trucks, because I love vehicles with jobs. What I want in a truck is maximum utility, and that's out of step with what actually seems to sell. But now I think I have an idea of how to get the look that sells with near OCD-levels of utility: the double-bed pickup.
There's a few things that led me down this treacherous path. First, my great admiration for cab-over pickup trucks. I have a sort of visceral vendetta against long hoods on pickup trucks. When I think about a truck, I think about how much usable space you get within the confines of the length of the vehicle. It's almost an equation, like this:
... where V= value or utility, u= usable space (this includes both cab area and bed area) and l= overall length of the vehicle. The ideal here would be a value of 1, where the total length of the vehicle was available for the owner's use. Cabover designs get the most possible value from this equation, approaching close to 1 for cabover vehicles like the Subaru Sambar, VW Type II pickup, or the Jeep FC pickups. Most conventional pickups sold in the US have V ratings at best of 0.75, and often lower.
The problem is these sort of cabover designs are really, really unpopular here in the US. A guy from Hyundai actually laughed in my face (and maybe spit? I can't recall) when I asked him about Hyundai bringing some of their cabover trucks to the US. There's a certain look that sells trucks in the US, and that look has a big-ass hood.
The problem is that hood does you no good when it comes to actually hauling stuff, and gets in the way when you're looking to park your truck, maneuver, or carry more cargo. Which is why that hood should be repurposed into another bed.
The key here is simply packaging. My ideal double-bed truck would have a transverse-mid-mounted engine between the cab and the rear pickup bed. Volvo's started using transverse inline-6 engines, and that would seem to be a good idea here, either diesel (Cummins makes some nice ones) or gasoline. A pair of radiator intakes would be placed on both sides of the car, feeding either a pair of smaller radiators (like on a Boxster) or ducted to one larger one.
Exhaust paths would be nice and short, exiting to the middle side of the truck, and as an added plus, most of the sensitive engine parts would be well away from the front or rear of the truck, protecting them during off-roading or accidents. Engine access would be both from below and via a removable panel in the rear bed, which I think would make a decent place to work on the engine.
The front bed would likely require a hood or bed cover, since you probably don't want to block your forward vision or have gravel and manure flinging up at the windshield. There would be a second tailgate at the front, which I think should be called a headgate. That headgate would offer plenty of room for design and branding, so I don't think the loss of the big, aggressive grille will be felt that much.
Think about how useful this could be — the average hood is close to 50% of the bed length on most full-length bed trucks, and even closer to the bed size on double cabs. That's that much more usable volume. You could carry two types of payloads that normally wouldn't work well together, like one that's filthy and one that's clean. Or one full of delicate plants and one full of gravel and dirt.
It could be more fuel-efficient and have lower emissions as well, thanks to simply requiring fewer trips in many circumstances. And, unlike most cabover designs, crash safety would not need to be compromised, as Tesla has proven the value of an engineless, open, crumple zone up front.
And, speaking of Tesla, this layout would be ideal for their future pickup truck model. Using the same 'skateboard' chassis they're already using, with its near-axle motors and integrated batteries in the floor, it would be easy to turn this into a dual-bed pickup design. Plus, the area where the gas/diesel engine once resided could be used for ancillaries and additional battery packs.
So, let's recap: Almost all the available length of the truck would be usable for people or cargo, and you still can keep that tough, big-hooded look. You could have tailgate parties from the front or rear or both. Think about that. Two gates upon which you can paint airbrushed murals of eagles and ghost-wolves attacking Communist ninjas. What's not to like here?
Ford still has a couple of weeks before unveiling the new F-150 in Detroit. That should be plenty of time for them to convert whatever they've got into something really amazing, like this.
What do you think? Have I pegged the idiometer, or is it still just in the yellow?