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Who says electricity and water can’t mix? The Rivian R1T electric pickup truck is engineered to drive through water up to 39 inches deep. But there are a few steps to prep the Rivian and pull off such a traverse.

1. Know the terrain

Promo photo of a blue Rivian R1T electric truck driving along a beach.
2021 Rivian R1T | Jeff Johnson via Rivian

It would be a major bummer to get halfway across a water fording in a Rivian electric truck before hitting an obstacle or sinkhole and getting stuck. Rivian claims that its electric truck can navigate water that’s 39 inches deep. But it also warns drivers to check the depth of said water.

In the R1T owner’s guide, the automaker also reminds drivers to study the bed of the river or other body of water for obstacles or debris. With the Rivian R1T’s MSRP of $67k, it’s safe to say most new Rivian truck owners will be especially careful before completing deep water crossings.

2. Prepare the Rivian electric truck for a water crossing

Two people sit by a fire in front of a silver Rivian R1T electric pickup truck parked on a beach.
2021 Rivian R1T | Rivian

For maximum traction while fording water, you definitely want to set your Rivian truck to “off-road mode.” In addition, you should dial it up to its maximum ride height. The Rivian R1T offers more ground clearance than any other pickup truck: 14.4 inches. But it achieves this feat with adjustable air suspension, so you’ll need to request that much ground clearance.

Next, you’ll want to make certain that all of your cargo spaces are sealed. This includes the Rivian truck’s in-bed trunk, front trunk, and unique gear tunnel. Rivian suggests you do your best to balance the weight of your cargo between the front trunk and bed. But at the same time, the automaker warns that the bed may flood while you complete your water crossing.

Finally, Rivian warns you to roll your windows down before beginning your water crossing. This is so if the worst happens, and your truck begins to sink, it will be relatively easy for you and any passengers to escape.

3. Completing a deep water traverse in the Rivian R1T

Red Rivian R1T electric pickup truck driving through a river, a field visible beyond it.
2021 Rivian R1T | Rivian

Rivian insists that the maximum speed you want to drive while completing a water fording is five mph. You should enter the water slowly. You should also drive slowly, but you should maintain a steady speed and avoid stopping. If water begins to splash over your truck’s hood, it may mean you are driving too fast. Try to slow down a bit and see if the water level drops.

One major factor limiting water fording depths in traditional internal combustion 4x4s is the height of the vehicle’s air intake. If you submerge the engine’s intake it will not be able to run. This is why some off-roading enthusiasts instal snorkel intakes on their trucks and SUVs. But the electric Rivian truck has no such limitation.

Want to see the Rivian electric truck completing some deep water crossings yourself? Check out Rivian testing the R1T in a three-foot deep water channel in the video below:

See the Rivian R1T electric truck’s water-fording capabilities demonstrated in Mojave in this next video:

Finally, watch Rivian take the R1T on some other off-road adventures in this final video:

Next, watch the Rivian R1T electric truck reviewed.


Watch The 2022 Rivian R1T Offroad Conquering Hell’s Gate in Moab, Wowing Bystanders