The Rivian R1T is officially the first electric pickup truck to market. This fall, electric truck fans have been spotting a lot of Rivians out in the wild. One 4×4 enthusiast even got a video of a stock Rivian R1T electric pickup dominate one of the most difficult offroad obstacles in the country: Hell’s Gate in Moab, Utah. Find out about the technology that allows the stock R1T offroad to conquer this rock face.
The Rivian R1T offroad takes on Hell’s Gate in Moab, Utah
The Hell’s Gate offroading obstacle is difficult enough to test the capability of any 4×4. The gate is a short section of Hell’s Revenge offroad trail. The Park Service recommends only “experienced drivers” tackle the difficult, Utah terrain.
The gate itself is a narrow rock channel. The center of this trough climbs at an intimidating 20 to 30 degrees. Some sections of the Gate climb at 45 degrees. To navigate it, drivers must choose a path up one side of the gate or the other. Their 4×4 must hold traction on the slick rock walls of Hell’s Gate. Capable, modified rigs have tipped over in Hell’s Gate.
As the Rivian takes on Hell’s Gate, you can hear its tires squeaking a bit as they find traction. But then the tires grab and the vehicle moves forward. In the video, you can hear bystanders in a crowd of offroaders say “Wow, look at it go!” and “That’s impressive.”
At one point, the electric pickup climbs the passenger’s side of the gully and its right front tire lifts high off the ground. But it stays planted and the driver is able to back up and choose a different path. The R1T offroad is truly impressive.
Finally, the Rivian R1T navigates the steepest pitch. The truck’s bumper clears the ledge at the end of the obstacle, and it drives away. Another bystander asks of the Rivian, “Does it have posi-trac?” But the new electric truck has much more cutting-edge tricks up its fenders.
The Rivian R1T has four motors
The Rivian R1T is the first electric pickup to market. It is also one of the most daring electric vehicle prototypes around. The Rivian drivetrain is built upon four electric engines. The top-trim Tesla Cybertruck and GMC Hummer EV only offer tri-motor drivetrains. The Rivian’s quad-motor drive gives it a distinct advantage off-road.
According to Motor Trend’s review of the new truck, the secret to the R1T offroad prowess is Rivian’s torque-vectoring. The wheel at each motor, paired with Rivian’s proprietary algorithms, immediately put torque to whatever tire has traction. This instantaneous torque placement is the holy grail of offroading.
Single-engine internal combustion offroaders have always struggled to deliver torque to the tire with the best traction. In the name of better torque placement, offroaders pioneered 4WD, locking differentials, and finally limited-slip differentials. But all of these systems are heavy and take some time to deliver torque where it’s needed. The quad-motor Rivian instantly delivers torque where the power will do the most to propel the vehicle.
In addition to advanced torque vectoring, the Rivian makes a lot of power. When you add up all four motors of the Rivian R1T, it makes more power than the TRX: 800 horsepower. Just as important for offroading is the vehicle’s 829 lb-ft of torque.
Finally, the Rivian R1T’s skateboard chassis keeps all four motors, and the heavy battery pack, down low. This low center of gravity is ideal for conquering obstacles on the trail. The R1T offroad ability to walk itself up a rock wall without tipping over impressed the seasoned offroaders watching at Hell’s Gate. The Rivian R1T launch-edition has entered production and its SUV counterpart, the Rivian R1S is coming sometime in 2022.