Rivian, an electric adventure vehicle startup based in Plymouth, Michigan, unveiled its first vehicle, the R1T electric pickup truck, today. It looks the business, and the numbers that CEO R.J. Scaringe claims the truck will achieve are rather impressive.
According to Rivian, the R1T will sprint from 0-60mph in three seconds, and take less than seven to clock 100mph when fitted with the middle of the three available battery options. The largest 180kWh pack offers a claimed 400 miles of range; impressive, albeit probably calculated in perfect driving conditions. The two smaller packs are 135kWh (300 miles) and 105kWh (230 miles). The batteries feed an electric motor at each wheel. Torque figures are a claimed 826 lb-ft. Horsepower was a little more vague, but Rivian claims more than 800.
The R1T rides on what Rivian calls a "skateboard platform," a stout frame with a massive battery taking up nearly the entire space encompassed by the frame rails and axles. Rivian was quick to tout the fact that the platform allows the electric motors, the battery, the suspension components and all of the cooling system to ride lower than the top of the wheels. As with every EV available or in the pipeline today, the layout gives this truck a remarkably low center of gravity, "comparable to that of today's sports sedans" according to Rivian.
While the low CG enables impressive dynamic behaviors like a claimed ability to ascend or descend a 45-degree gradient, the real benefits lie in its packaging.
This was perhaps where the concept impressed most, with generous amounts of storage found all over the truck. A spacious frunk—a hallmark of EVs—has a claimed capacity of 330 liters, which Rivian demonstrated by stuffing it with a cooler and two overnight bags, more than enough for a weekend away with friends.
The R1T's best party trick is the "gear tunnel," a 350-liter pass-through space running the width of the vehicle, accessible from the outside of the truck. The tunnel resides below and behind the rear seat, just ahead of the rear wheelwells, perfectly shaped to hold golf bags, snowboards, or a stroller. The fold-down doors that seal the tunnel are stout enough to use as a step for loading cargo on the roof or a seat when suiting and booting for the next outdoor adventure.
Smart storage continues in the truck bed, where the below-the-bed spare tire well can double as a 250-liter lockable, sealed storage area, similar to the bed bin in the Honda Ridgeline.
The interior is stuffed with durable, easy-clean materials, a nice aspect for a vehicle aimed at adventurous (and sometimes dirty) occupants. Tasteful wooden accents and interesting textures keep it from feeling like an operating room.
It all wraps into quite an impressive looking package. The R1T starts at $61,500 after federal tax rebates; Rivian says the highest-performance, highest-battery-capacity model will go on sale first, with deliveries beginning in late 2020. Preorders are being accepted right now with .
Cars are hard. There’s a reason why upstart automakers have a dismal success rate. The barriers to entry in the car industry are crazy high, and as Tesla has shown, designing and engineering an appealing vehicle is just the start of a battle that gets much more complex as production increases.
Will Rivian succeed? We’ll have to wait and see. At a minimum, the R1T is an impressive exercise, demonstrating the design advantages of an EV platform in an automotive segment that's been slow to adapt to electric propulsion.