By on November 26, 2018

Despite being in existence for nearly a decade, Rivian has operated in relative obscurity. However the company has finally decided to break cover by debuting its R1T electric pickup slightly ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show. The American startup is attempting to best other EV manufacturers by filling unoccupied space on the market. While electric pickups do exist, only the Ohio-based Workhorse has a clear production plan and that’s intended to primarily serve commercial fleets.

Meanwhile, the R1T is being designed with the consumer market in mind and boasts some seriously impressive specifications. 

The 5-passenger pickup uses a quartet of electric motors driving each wheel and can be configured for a total output of between 300 and 562 kW (402 and 753 hp). Batteries are similarly customizable and are available as 105 kWh, 135 kWh, and 180 kWh packs. The automaker is claiming at least 230 miles of range with the most basic trim and over 400 miles from the 180 kWh battery — which is coming to market first. Like Tesla, Rivian intends to lead with its most-expensive trim when assembly begins at the firm’s facility in Normal, Illinois.

Rivian also suggested a charge rate of up to 160 kW at fast-charging stations and an 11-kW for residential applications.

With a top speed of just 125 mph, the R1T probably won’t be the pinnacle of highway performance but it should be a monster from a stoplight. Higher-trimmed models are said to achieve 60 mph in roughly 3 seconds while the plain Jane base unit can still manage the task in under 5 seconds.

Equally impressive was the claimed payload capacity of 800 kg (1,764 lbs) and a towing capacity of 5,000 kg (11,023 lbs). It also has a number of impressive utility quirks, like a “lockable Gear Tunnel” just behind the cab. The compartment spans the entire width of the vehicle and further improves the R1T’s solid storage capacity. Its doors also double as steps to access the bed, which comes with its own integrated tonneau cover and room to hide a spare. There are also three 110-volt outlets with more than 400 watts available for powering tools.

According to the manufacturer, the R1T will launch with a robust hardware suite “with multiple modalities including camera, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and a high precision GPS coupled with high definition maps.” The hardware is said to be sufficient for Level 3 (hands-off wheel and eyes off road) autonomy for highway operation. However, Rivian said that the vehicle will have “a range of self-driving features focused on enabling active lifestyles” beyond highway cruising and will gradual improve via over-the-air updates.

The design is satisfyingly futuristic, reminiscent of the concept vehicles of yesterday but with the dimensions of a modern full-sized truck. Although, with the company making such lofty promises, it could probably look like it had already been in an accident and still hold one’s interest.

Rivian is promising a lot here, everything from blistering acceleration to Level 3 autonomy. While it also seems to be hinting at upgradable self-driving tech, we recommend purchasing a product on what it’s offering at launch.

Deliveries of the R1T are expected to begin in late 2020, according to the company. The base price will be $69,000 before incentives, but those models won’t be available until later on. Rivian suggested the lower trimmed units should become available within 12 months of the start of production. However, you can drop a refundable $1,000 deposit on one now if you’re feeling confident the manufacturer will deliver.

[Images: Rivian]

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34 Comments on “Rivian Reveals All-electric Pickup With Some Serious Specs...”

  • avatar

    What is the range when towing?

  • avatar

    The front-end treatement needs less iPhone and more aggression. But I like the specs, and luxo Pickup buyers won’t flinch at the price.

  • avatar

    Nice looking for the most part, but I too am concerned about the range under load

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      An extremely valid concern. Other automakers have told me that heavier EVs (pickups, semis, etc) may never catch on without some kind of huge battery breakthrough. While I cannot tell you which outfits said that, they currently don’t have a pickup truck for sale in North America and aren’t planning an electric one for this very reason (or so they claim).

      • 0 avatar

        People still don’t get something basic about adding weight to vehicles with regenerative braking. Most of the additional energy used to get that extra weight up to speed or up a hill, can be recaptured when braking to reduce or limit speed. There are conversion losses, but the penalty for adding weight is nothing like the total loss of ICE vehicles. Thus, extra weight will not heavily affect range.

        • 0 avatar

          Except towing something down the highway uses very little regenerative braking.

          • 0 avatar

            Long range highway towing energy use (can’t really call it gas mileage in this case eh?) is far more affected by aerodynamics (DRAG) than it is by weight.

          • 0 avatar

            “Except towing something down the highway uses very little regenerative braking.”

            On a flat highway that might be the case, but it’s a different story in the mountains. Regen definitely is a major factor and you do gain back some power on the downhills and save on the brakes too. That’s from firsthand experience with both hybrids and BEVs on interstates in New Hampshire and Vermont. The advantage the extra weight from trailering would only come if there was an extra aggressive regen mode available.

      • 0 avatar

        “may never catch on without some kind of huge battery breakthrough”

        There are now 2 factories cranking out batteries with about 400 to 450 Wh/kg density and a size of 1200 Wh/l. Not huge quantities and really expensive, but still, they are rolling off the line and you can buy them now for high c-rate applications like drones. Variants suitable for EVs should be in production in 2020 to 2021. That’s about double the density of the batteries in the Model S and 3. I’d think you could build something with decent towing and hauling capability without waiting for exotic breakthroughs with those densities.

  • avatar

    Smart play, targeting the “lifestyle” pickup market. Hope it works out for them.

  • avatar

    This, of course, will not sell. It is a bit like trying to sell a Prius “NRA edition”, with an aerodynamic gun rack and a MAGA hat holder.

    Pickup trucks are never used to actually move items in the truck bed. They are lifestyle vehicles; they send a message of a pre-Enlightenment, Nixonian/Trumpian belief system that glorifies pollution, gun murders, and Presidential lying, interprets Christianity as a religion of hate and intolerance, and celebrates limited brain use. Similarly, a Prius send a message of desiring a Socialist paradise, gender neutral underwear, and of wishing to make the use of 100Watt lightbulbs a felony.

    In short, this vehicle makes the mistake of not realizing that people’s vehicle choices are emotional, not utilitarian.

  • avatar

    I think there’s a huge untapped market of people wanting trucks that aren’t playing Johnny Reb dress-up but still have a street presence. Right now most are opting for a Wrangler, Tacoma, or a Ridgeline, or just avoiding it and getting another Subaru.

    I think this truck nails it from a look perspective. It looks like a futuristic and purposeful instead of looking like a plastic toy from a gas station. Of course, EV popups are a dime a dozen and this will likely go the way of Faraday Future.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not so sure of that. Props to the company for toiling away in deliberate obscurity until they actually have something showable, and announcing a release date that seems to be sufficiently conservative to handle any un-anticipated bugs. And especially not pounding away with the publicity from the moment they had a styling design penciled in on a napkin.

      Of course, cash flow rules all. But we’re not hearing any panicky funding reports like some of the other startups, both ICE and EV.

    • 0 avatar


      I’m in that category. I’ve owned three pickup trucks, but currently own a Mazda5 and aspire to own a Tesla.

      But there were many occasions where I needed a pickup truck this fall. But I don’t want to look like a Trump supporter, and I can’t make the business case for owning a pickup truck. So, I kinda miss having a pickup now and then.

      But I’m watching Rivian. I’ll be interested to see their SUV design.

      My driveway has two slots: 1) high efficicy commuter 2) big family vehicle. We’re getting close to filling #1 with a Tesla Model 3. #2 is an open question.

      • 0 avatar

        #1 reason to not buy a vehicle I need that costs $35k: what others might think of me. So, I’ll spend $70k+ instead so nobody will mistake me for a non-liberal.

        You guys crack me up. Why not buy what you want or need and damn what everyone else thinks about it? Nahh, that’d be too easy.

        And, anyone who thinks the Tacoma and Ridgeline *dont* look like plastic toys but ALL other trucks do, oh geeze. You guys must sit around thinking of the most ridiculous idiotic things possible to say. Those two ARE basically plastic toys. They sure as hell aren’t real trucks built for doing real work.

  • avatar

    The lift, air dam delete, and 35″ mud tires will never make it from concept to show room.

    Moneyed truck buyers being what they are, those will be added while the paper plates are still on whereupon it’ll be good for 125 miles per charge, or 60 with the boat trailer behind it.

  • avatar

    Rivien: The Sequel to Myst

    Why anyone would want or need a 700hp pickup that offers no benefit in payload or towing is beyond me. The range benefit is negligible and they could easily have just offered the larger battery with the 400hp version.

    • 0 avatar

      Because all EVs are that way.

      It’s easier to put big motors on them and connect it with a single speed reduction gearbox than to port the complexity of a traditional transmission.

      They need the extra torque innorser to keep up at highway speeds. The byproduct is that they perform like a f*cking amusement park ride on the stopsign gauntlet.

      If you don’t believe me, go drive a Nissan Leaf. Take it through a stopsign gauntlet, then take it to 80mph on the highway. You’ll see what I mean.

      The big peak-horsepower numbers are a side effect of having a properly engineered EV drivetrain, not the goal — and those horsepower are not applied in the same way has engine horsepower are, because of the different torque vs vehicle speed curve. But the marketing people will make full use of it to get your attention. Looks like it worked!

  • avatar

    The truck offers a lot of cargo space. It’s quite attractive. The only catch is the range. They should offer a trim that sacrifices a bit of cargo capacity for extended range, at least 400 mi. I would even suggest trying for 600 mi, if possible. Trucks are often used to go camping or fishing, which requires a lot more driving than the usual back and forth. A lot of even full-size trucks can only carry 1400 lbs, so Rivian could lose 300 lbs and still stay competitive.

  • avatar

    Since GM and Ford are going down the crapper why not give this little company a chance. It can’t possibly be as bad as the Sierra.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Love my Volt and may go full EV next but as someone in the market for a PU would never consider an electric one. Can’t imagine towing a snowmobile trailer from Minneapolis to the UP of Michigan in sub zero temps and/or in a snowstorm that has you crawling along at 35 MPH. How would you ever charge it? When it comes to my trucks I’ll stick with gas for now.

  • avatar

    Given the 0-60 time, I hope it has a secure tailgate.

    Another article about it said there is a tunnel underneath the cab that can hold lumber or skis. I see no mention of it here. Perhaps it is being confused with the crossways bin, which is too short for real lumber and a lot of skis.

    I was wondering how the longitudinal tunnel could be packaged. But that is explained by the use of a motor at each wheel. A separate motor at each wheel means it has extremely controllable awd.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Towing is easy for an EV, but it’s murder on the range. Tesla’s Model X is rated to tow 5000 lbs, but tests show that towing that much can cut the range by 50 to 60%.

    My Sedona minivan is rated to tow 3500 lbs, but my highway mpg has been cut by 60% while towing half that much, or 30% while towing more than that. Other factors matter also, like aerodynamics and ambient temperature.

    As for this truck, I like everything but the front end. Plus, I wonder how they will source so many batteries.

  • avatar

    Something irks me about the loadbed being fully integrated, rather than a separate entity that can wobble around under stress like it might on a BOF pickup. Screams that this is a lifestyle toy, rather than an honest-to-goodness pickmeup.

    That said, I approve that this is as close to a Tesla Model S El Camino as we’ve seen so far.

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