When an EV startup is founded by sports car fans who can also read a financial sheet, you get the all-electric, all-wheel-drive Rivian R1T pickup truck.
Rivian was founded in 2008 to produce a performance coupe, as it is what CEO RJ Scaringe and director of vehicle dynamics Max Koff desired. Consumers, on the other hand, prefer pickup vehicles.
Last year, the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram pickup trucks were the best-selling automobiles in the United States.
The GMC Sierra and Toyota Tacoma were ranked ninth and tenth, respectively.
According to IHS Markit, electric vehicles accounted for only 1.8 percent of US vehicle sales last year.
Rather than putting itself at a disadvantage by focusing on a narrow vehicle category using EV technology, Rivian decided to construct an electric pickup truck.
The car fanatics in command, however, we’re adamant about having a fun-to-drive automobile.
As a result, they enlisted the help of McLaren Automotive’s chief engineer, Charles Sanderson.
He was familiar with McLaren’s linked hydraulic damper system, which was provided by Tenneco.
a technology that is as revolutionary as the R1electric T’s all-wheel-drive system.
Years ago, the company began discreetly working on this project while another EV company’s CEO made bombastic statements on social media and presented an odd-looking pickup prototype while making equally outrageous claims about the vehicle’s capabilities and delivery date. (Yes, we’re referencing Elon Musk’s Cybertruck.)
Rivian is now set for its major public debut, with the R1T electric pickup truck going into production on Sept. 13. The deliveries have already begun.
The truck was first shown to the press in Breckenridge, Colorado, at an altitude (12,600 feet maximum!) that would make a combustion-powered vehicle pant for air.
A normally aspirated combustion engine would lose 37.5 percent of its rated power due to the thin air at that altitude.
Electric vehicles, on the other hand, do not require air to function, hence altitude does not affect them.
The R1T, on the other hand, could bear this disadvantage because its four electric motors have a combined peak output of more than 800 horsepower.
That’s true, the R1T not only features supercar suspension technology, but it also has supercar power output.
With a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 3.0 seconds, it lives up to these statistics.
Supercar-grade Bosch braking hardware can be seen peeking through the spokes of the truck’s massive wheels (20-inch standard, 21-inch, and 22-inch optional).
Featuring massive rotors and calipers that can stop the truck even without the help of electronic regenerative braking
Rivian’s calibration specialists have done an incredible job of flawlessly merging these two functions, without the unpredictability that some combination braking systems suffer from.
Pirelli built the tires expressly for the R1T, and they are remarkable.
Scrambling over rocks and through the mud on a hard day of off-roading displayed their mettle, which is a great achievement.
However, they also demonstrated surprising on-road ability on paved roads. There will be more on this later.
The R1sleek, T’s grille-less front appearance is reminiscent of Jay Leno’s vintage Stanley Steamer steam cars, which don’t require airflow to the radiator.
Rivian acquired the Normal, Illinois plant that produced the popular Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon, and Plymouth Laser in the 1990s to produce the trucks.
Sadly, when these flinty Rivian ledger-readers discovered the tooling for those automobiles still in place, they demolished it right away.
Anyone dreaming of a new turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Eclipse will be in tears.
The R1T, like most EVs, includes an 11-cubic-foot front truck “frunk” for storage where a combustion truck’s engine would be.
Its lid can be opened with a remote key fob or by touching a button on the truck’s front bumper.
To open or close it from the driver’s seat, though, you must navigate layers of on-screen menus on the R1beautiful T’s 16-inch central video display.
The business said it will look into making this easier in the future with an over-the-air update that gives drivers more direct access to a “frunk open/close” option.
We’d love to see a tactile button like the ones found on most automobiles’ trunks or hatches.
Rivian uses Epic’s Unreal engine to produce the display’s stunning graphics, so it’s no surprise that the video imagery is impressive.
If the frunk isn’t enough lockable storage, the R1T has a Gear Tunnel behind the cab, according to Rivian.
It’s an 11.6-cubic-foot storage corridor between the truck’s apertures on both sides that’s ideal for long items like golf bags.
The R1T, of course, has a 4.5-foot cargo bed in the back. It has a power-operated tonneau cover (that’s a hardcover) that retracts like a sports stadium roof into a roll that stores above the Stuff Tunnel at the front of the truck, holding 29.2 cubic feet of gear.
The truck’s full-size spare tire is stored beneath the bed in a bin.
This is preferable to a tire that hangs underneath the truck as long as the bed is empty for retrieval.
With each thing in the bed at the time, it is needed, retrieving it becomes more difficult.
because anything heaped on top of the access door would have to be moved to the spot where the spare is kept.
The infotainment screen is flashy as expected, with stunning animations and the ability to handle a wide range of tasks.
For someone who has only spent a day or two behind the wheel, though, it can be intimidating.
As a result, customers should expect to spend some time learning how to navigate the menus.
But we’re here for the electric motor, not the monitor. The R1T is equipped with four electric motors, one for each wheel.
This allows the truck’s multiple control systems to provide far more exact control of each wheel’s speed and traction than is feasible with a combustion drivetrain’s locking differentials.
The 135-kilowatt-hour long-range battery pack is located between the truck’s frame rails and gives a range of 314 miles on a single charge, according to the EPA.
A-Max Pack will be available that will provide more than 400 miles of driving range, but no specifics on that have been released yet.
During a day of clambering up mountains on rock-strewn routes, then passing through Colorado’s legendary 11,900-foot Loveland Pass’s switchbacks,
We consumed a tremendous amount of energy at a rate that was in no way representative of usual usage.
While doing so, we witnessed our truck’s battery charge drop from 74 percent to 26 percent after a total of 87 kilometers.
The computer estimated that we had 49 miles of range left after the day.
We could have gone considerably further if we had put the truck on Interstate 70 and set the adaptive cruise control to the speed limit.
The R1electrical T’s power deployment is even more amazing. On the off-road trail, the truck slithered through and over obstacles that properly equipped Jeep Wranglers and Ford Broncos could handle.
The Rivian, on the other hand, breezed through these obstacles with far less drama than those combustion vehicles would have.
It can also wade through three feet of water, which is more than the Wrangler and Bronco can.
The lack of susceptible differentials beneath the vehicle, which make straddling boulders or other impediments a no-brainer, necessitates a mental adjustment.
Off-road EVing is also a more peaceful experience than when an engine is creating noise and waste heat is rising from beneath the truck, as we discovered with the Jeep Wrangler 4xe while off-roading in electric-only mode.
While the Jeep and Ford have removable doors and roofs, the Rivian R1T does not.
The business claims to be working on a detachable version of the cab’s huge glass skylight.
In future iterations of the vehicle, drivers will be able to enjoy a more open-air experience.
The drivetrain and suspension tuning is decided by selecting a drive mode, and there are Auto, Rock Crawl, and Rally options inside the Off-Road choices that further narrow down just what kind of reaction is appropriate for the situation.
This changes the throttle response and power steering help, as well as raising the air suspension for increased ground clearance and optimizing traction control for slippery situations.
The All-Purpose mode is intended to be a set-and-forget mode for pleasant on-road driving with some off-road potential.
With a lower ride height, firmer spring rate, and less steering assist, Sport mode optimizes the suspension, steering, and drivetrain for sports car-like on-road performance.
To our surprise, the All-Purpose mode is so capable even in fiercely athletic driving on winding mountain roadways that the Sport mode’s rougher ride feels like a waste of time.
Shredding Loveland Pass switchbacks demonstrate flawless body roll and pitch control when turning, accelerating, and braking.
and the drivetrain accentuates EVs’ potential to shorten straight stretches between curves, similar to that of an aircraft carrier catapult launch.
The R1stability T’s control systems allow the driver to throw it through corners like a sports vehicle.
and the torque vectoring capacity of the all-wheel-drive system helps the truck navigate through the corner even as it accelerates toward the exit.
The steering is precise and well-weighted, making it simple to point the vehicle in the right direction as it exits corners.
Even stranger, it accomplishes all of this while rolling on the same Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Plus tires we used off-road.
with only a change in air pressure from 28 psi on the dirt to 45 psi on the road
The tires have a surprising amount of grip, predictable traction limits, and very little tire scream. Astounding.
They do so while maintaining the strength required to handle the massive weight of a battery-powered full-size pickup truck.
When the R1battery T’s pack is running low, a Conserve mode reduces power to help it tiptoe to the next charger.
Tow mode adjusts the truck’s stability and control settings to prepare it to tow a trailer weighing up to 11,000 pounds.
An electric truck can haul a trailer with incredible power, but using that power would deplete the batteries quickly.
As a result, the R1T would be unsuitable for long-distance camper towing.
So, here’s the price: The R1T starts at $67,500, with our test truck costing $73,000.
This may sound like a lot of money, but the average transaction price of a full-size pickup truck has exceeded $55,600, according to Kelley Blue Book, and there are tax advantages to help offset the cost of the Rivian purchase.
For an additional $2,650, you can add a cool three-person tent. You’ve probably seen them on other off-road vehicles.
The R1$5,000 T’s camp kitchen is something you won’t find on any other vehicle.
This is an inductive electric cooktop that stows in the Gear Tunnel and then pops out onto the truck’s side to cook meals with the R1battery. T’s
The R1purchase T’s price is notably inexpensive when compared to the price of a high-performance sports car, so that’s a plus.
There’s no indication on whether Rivian will create a low-slung two-seat sports car in the future.
However, the R1T will soon be joined by the R1S, an SUV version of the R1T. Expect it to arrive quickly, based on the R1T!