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Rivian R1T Is Almost Here

Landing in January 2022, the all-electric Rivian R1T pickup truck is one in a sudden rush of battery-powered pickups from new and established automakers.

A New Challenger Approaches

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

Automotive electrification is coming in hot with a steady stream of all-electric vehicles, from legacy and new brands, being announced. The Rivian R1T 100% electric pickup truck is the first vehicle from this startup automaker with initial deliveries set to begin in early 2022. It will be facing off against stiff competition from the likes of Ford, Tesla, and General Motors, but Rivian looks ready to blaze its own unique trail in this burgeoning segment.

Getting the Lowdown on the Rivian R1T

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

Using the moniker “Electric Adventure Vehicle”, Rivian’s marketing features a healthy dose of camping, surfing, and outdoor activities. This is in contrast to the upcoming Ford Lightning, which is effectively a classic F-150 truck in battery-powered duds. Not to mention the Thor inspired, Watts-To-Freedom Hummer EV from GMC that was revealed with Trent Reznor ripping in the background. And of course, Tesla has made waves with its decidedly different take on this market with their Cybertruck.

A Quad Motor Electric Truck

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

Rivian will offer two trims for the R1T initially, the $67,500 Explore and $73,000 Adventure. There is also a Launch Edition, but it is already sold out. Base powertrain configuration is a 135-kWh battery pack powering a “Quad-Motor” setup that manages torque, individually, at all four wheels and is good for 314 miles of range. A dual-motor mounted on the front axle produces 415 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque with a second dual-motor on the rear axle making 420 horsepower and 495 lb-ft of torque. An optional, 180-kWh Max battery costs $10,000 and pushes available range over 400 miles.

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

Configured properly, the Rivian R1T will sprint to 60 mph in about 3 seconds flat according to the company. After burning up those electrons, the standard charger will add a few miles of range per hour using 120V power. A 240V wall-mounted home charger is optional for $500 and increases the recharging rate to 25 miles of range per hour. The company is also in the middle of building a nationwide network of charging stations planned by the end of 2023. It is said to include over 3,500 DC fast chargers that are Rivian-owner exclusive and add 140 miles of range in 20 minutes along with 10,000+ Level 2 chargers open to the public.

New Age Handling and Capability

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

Four-corner air suspension is standard equipment and comes with adaptive damping, electro-hydraulic roll control instead of the traditional mechanical anti-roll bar, and an underbody shield. Fully pressurized, the air springs give the Rivian R1T a max ground clearance of 14.4” or as low as 8” for highway efficiency. A slick feature is what Rivian calls “Tank Turn” whereby the truck can spin in a 360 thanks to its individual control of all four wheels. This not only looks cool, it’s legitimately useful in tight terrain. Other notable specs include the ability to ford 36 inches of water and pull an 11,000-pound trailer.

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More Tech and More options

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

Techies will appreciate the standard Wi-Fi, wireless phone charging, six USB ports and four household power receptacles – two of which are in the cargo bed. An all-digital gauge cluster flows into a large, touchscreen infotainment display that operates the high-end Meridian audio system found on Adventure models. Vegan leather-trimmed and heated seats are standard with ventilation available as well as real wood interior trim. On the outside, wheel options range from street to all-terrain rubber in 20, 21, and 22-inch sizes.

Rivian calls their advanced driver assistance systems “Driver+” and it comes with a long list of standard equipment. Driving Assist is a combination of adaptive cruise control with automatic steering, braking and throttle control on select highways plus lane change assist. Lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams are also among the included systems.

Innovative Cargo Storage

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

Cleverly situated between the cabin and bed is Rivian’s Gear Tunnel. When equipped with the $5000 Camp Kitchen x Snow Peak package, owners have a fully functioning built-in kitchen. A table slides out of the tunnel with a two-burner induction stove mounted plus a sink, coffee maker, cooking utensils, tableware and more. When not in use, that tunnel can hold 11 cubic feet of gear, which combines with the front trunk, under seat compartments and cargo bed for 68 total cubic feet of storage. That cargo bed is normally 54” long but can extend to 83” with a spare tire housed underneath that can double as lockable storage or even a cooler with an integrated drain.

Electric Trucks Are Heating Up

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

The Rivian R1T is sized between the dimensions of a Ford Ranger and F-150 and costs as little as $67,500 or over $100,000 with all the bells and whistles. Ford’s Lightning and Tesla’s Cybertruck are expected to cost in the range of $40,000 to $70,000 with the red-blooded Hummer costing well into six-figures at launch, though less expensive models are expected in the future. So, the new Rivian will certainly be an interesting contender in what promises to be an exciting and new pickup truck future.

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Niel Stender

Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his 1990 Cherokee and 1989 Starion, so it’s not surprising that he would put his mechanical engineering degree from the University of New Hampshire to use in the car world as a vehicle dynamics engineer. Now engineering sentence structures, his writing infuses his auto experience with his time in marketing and his sales experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he focuses on some of the more technical mechanical systems that are found under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

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