A power trunk can be either an electronically released latch or a full automatic opening lid. Until recently, only high-end luxury cars had the convenience of power operated trunks. The main advantages of a power trunk are to avoid fingerprints on the trunk lid and to aid in loading the vehicle. By simply pressing a button, the cargo area becomes accessible; a very simple task when carrying a heavy load to your vehicle.
The power liftgate is a similar idea, taking the power opening trunk and adapting it for use on a hatchback vehicle. The Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country Minivans were the first to offer power liftgates. Many other models have added the option.
Most systems work by adding an electric actuator parallel to the trunk or liftgate hinges. When activated, the trunk unlatches and the actuator pushes the trunk open until it rests at its fully open position on the gas struts commonly used. This method allows the trunk to be operated by hand as well, should there be a mechanical problem with the opener or a lack of electrical power.
The system used on the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country minivans is slightly different, using a flat metal plate as a cam and rotating it upward to open the tailgate.