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There’s a reason you can’t get trapped in a car’s trunk: the NHTSA requires all automakers to install an emergency release inside the trunk. But instead of a trunk, the new Rivian electric pickup truck has a gear tunnel between its bed and cab. It’s large enough for a person to fit into and locks electronically. Luckily, Rivian has installed emergency escape buttons at both ends of its truck-width gear tunnel. This is just one of several advanced features of the gear tunnel.

What is a Rivian’s gear tunnel?

The Rivian R1T electric pickup truck has a compartment spanning the width of the truck, between the cab and bed. Rivian calls this space the “Gear Tunnel.” Presumably, this is because the outdoor-oriented company intends the space for stowing adventure gear such as skis or camping equipment.

A Rivian electric truck parked in the desert with both its gear tunnel doors open so you can see all the way through the pickup, mountains visible in the background.
2021 Rivian R1T | Rivian

The gear tunnel is the entire width of the pickup truck, which makes it 5.3 feet long. It is 20.7 inches tall and 18.4 inches front to back. It is a trapezoid, its forward wall sloping inward because it is tucked behind the rear seat. In total, the gear tunnel’s size is 11.6 cubic feet of storage space.

True to its gear-toting purpose, the gear tunnel is not only waterproof, but it is rubber-lined so you can hose it out. The surface of this rubber offers some grip, so your stuff doesn’t slide around. Finally, the gear tunnel offers power outlets you could use to recharge gear such as headlamps or walkie-talkies while you drive. You can also use them to power Rivian’s slide-in kitchen if you buy one.

How does the Rivian truck’s gear tunnel latch and unlatch?

The Rivian gear tunnel has a door on both ends of the truck. You open these powered doors by pressing a button on the rim of the truck bed, directly above them. You can latch them by lifting them almost fully closed and they will close and latch. You can also unlatch them with the emergency release buttons at both ends of the tunnel.

A man and a dog sit on the open door of a silver Rivian truck's gear tunnel storage compartment, a snowy hillside visible behind them.
2021 Rivian R1T | Rivian

Even though the powered gear tunnel doors are fairly high-tech, they are also very sturdy. Both waterproof doors hinge at the bottom, folding away from the truck and forming a shelf. Both doors are capable of holding 300 pounds. They are designed as steps for accessing the truck bed or a roof rack. These doors also each have a small storage compartment.

How much storage does a Rivian truck have?

Even though the Rivian truck bed is not especially large, it has loads of other storage spaces. This includes an in-bed trunk usually used for a spare tire, a front trunk, and a gear tunnel between the bed and cab.

Two women lean over the unfolded camp kitchen built into the bed of a Rivian electric truck.
2021 Rivian R1T | Rivian

Because the Rivian truck does not have an internal combustion motor under its hood, it has room for a front trunk that’s 54.8 inches wide, 25.4 inches deep, and 22.7 inches tall. It even has a 7-inch deep tray beneath the fold-up backseat for more storage.

Next, find out whether the Rivian or Ford Maverick offer more storage or see the gear tunnel in action in the video below:


The Rivian Electric Truck Trounces the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye