Tesla did it with sedans, now Rivian is poised to do it with pickup trucks. The completely electric Rivian R1T pickup is set to hit the market in mid-2021. Built in America, the R1T boasts modern, elegant styling that by no means detracts from its rugged good looks.
A misconception behind the R1T is that Ford is producing it. Rivian is a startup based in Irvine, California. The confusion may derive from the fact that Ford has invested $500 million into Rivian and is partnering with the technology development company.
Sized comfortably between mid-sized and full-sized classes of pickups, the R1T is set to offer heavy competition to the legacy models. In fact, all R1T launch vehicles (price tag: $75,000) are sold out for 2021. Though there is no word on the exact numbers from Rivian, it portends bigger things to come.
Rivian is building upon a skateboard chassis, which they will also be supplying to Ford as the foundation of Ford’s forthcoming all-electric truck. “Skateboard” is a nickname that accurately describes the look of the unit without the body. The striking thing about the skateboard is its overall utility. This component will provide the foundation to support many different models.
More on the “Skateboard.”
In the simplest terms, the skateboard concept is exceptionally efficient. All the R1T’s vehicles’ mechanical components, and the battery bank, drivetrain (motors at the wheels), and suspension are contained in one place.
The R1T is an electric vehicle, so there is no engine. Rather, the R1T has four electric motors mounted at each wheel and each powered by a 147-kW all-electric motor. And these are no lightweight motors, depending on which size battery is chosen to power the vehicle (three selections in KWh: 105, 135, 180), the R1T can realize up to 750 hp and nearly 830 lb-ft of torque.
Battery Range and Life
Depending on the battery tier selected (either: 105, 135, 180 kWh), expect the vehicle to achieve in one charge from 230 miles per charge at the 105, 300 for the 135, and 400 plus for the 180.
At a little over 215 inches long and 79 inches wide, the R1T is slightly bigger than a Honda Ridgeline or Chevy Colorado – but not by much.
Inside and out, Rivian wants to be the leader in quality. For the interior, Rivian aims to rival Bentley, Lamborghini, and Lincoln in terms of luxury craftsmanship. Rivian feels that benchmarking the best of the best will put them on that trajectory.
From eye-pleasing designs, solid-feeling haptics, and aural aesthetics, good instinct drives this goal. As quality director Richard Vaughan states, “Quality planning goes further than understanding what customers want because sometimes they don’t know what they want.”
The styling of the R1T is aggressive and subdued all at once. It is built to look like a bruiser but without all the baroque, fantastic angles emerging with the 2021 lines of trucks. Tesla, take note.
This vehicle’s nose is its main branding point, at first somewhat confusing for its lack of a front grille that gives it a flat look. The daytime running lights illuminate from a full-width bar directly on the nose, and the light bar itself is punctuated by oval-shaped LED stadium lights toward either side of the vehicle. It is an impressive look, and one designed intentionally to not mistake this truck for any other vehicle on the road.
Class Comparisons & Pricing
While it is still too early to do side by side comparisons with other vehicles in its class, we know that the R1T is AWD, whereas most of its competition is not. Further, with a standard asking price of $75,000, its price tag is significantly higher than all comparable vehicles except, possibly, the higher end of the ford F-150 Package. It looks like Rivian is ready to compete with its electric truck competitors.
Towing and Payload
A fully equipped R1T anticipates an 11,000-pound towing capacity and a payload capacity of nearly one ton. Accessories for roof mounting and other accessory racks are also available to fill out the vehicle’s overall utility. Towing capacity alone is impressive when compared to the standard 8,000-pound towing capacity for a Ford F-150.
The R1T is built to be as tough as anything in the off-road truck department. Since the ‘skateboard platform’ efficiently localizes the suspension along with other major components of the vehicle. The R1T boasts a double-wishbone on the front and a multi-link setup on the rear for the suspension.
The dynamic roll and adaptive dampers and air suspension allow R1T to comfortably and stubbornly traverse some very rough terrain. As if that’s not enough, unlike other off-road vehicles, the R1T is can expertly extricate itself from some very tight situations. Skeptical? Watch as this vehicle literally turn on a dime!
Rivian R1T Tank Turn Video
A New Era in SUVs
Creating a completely electric version of America’s most sought-after vehicle was thought to be a non-starter. And though it took a while, it seems the technology is coming together, with Rivian’s help, to usher in a new chapter in disruptive technology development that the auto industry has been so desperately searching for.
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