The electric pickup truck market is about to accelerate in a hurry. Tesla is almost ready to reveal its ‘Blade Runner-inspired’ design, and Bollinger recently announced pricing details for its B2 off-road pickup. But perhaps the biggest news comes courtesy of Rivian. Although the company’s R1T pickup won’t be available until 2020, Amazon recently ordered 10,000 of them. Rivian’s electric pickup may still be under development, but the company is apparently ready for on-road testing. Recently, in the town of Ucluelet on Canada’s Vancouver Island, a Rivian R1T was spotted filming a commercial.
Rivian R1T: What We Know So Far
The R1T is one of two vehicles confirmed to ride on Rivian’s electric “skateboard” interchangeable platform. The other is the R1S electric SUV. Rivian has also stated a rally fighter EV will follow after the R1T and R1S are launched. A rendering of this third EV was recently posted on the Rivian forums, following spy photographs of an unknown styling buck rough model.
The R1T will start at $69,000. The truck will first launch with a 180-kWh battery capacity, followed by a 135-kWh version. An even cheaper version, with a 105-kWh capacity, will come sometime in late 2021. With that 180-kWh battery pack, Rivian claims the R1T will have a range of over 400 miles. The range is impressive, especially considering the rest of the truck’s performance.
Rivian claims the R1T’s four electric motors are good for 750 hp and 829 lb-ft of torque. The motor arrangement also means the R1T has all-wheel drive. Not only does this result in a claimed 0-60 time of 3 seconds, it also means the truck could go off-road. Not only is the range extensive, Rivian also claims the pickup can wade into water over 3 feet deep.
What Filming on Vancouver Island Revealed
The R1T caught on film wasn’t plowing through rivers. However, there are several details and impressions the video reveals.
Firstly, the R1T’s scale. The R1T was being filmed by a crew in the back of a GMC Yukon. And the truck is roughly the same size as the SUV. Based on our previous review of the Yukon, passengers in the R1T shouldn’t worry about feeling cramped.
In addition, the R1T’s advertised ‘gear tunnel’ is not an after-thought. Rivian has previously released images showing people sitting on the tunnel’s fold-out panels. Although the video doesn’t show seated people, the panels can clearly hold at least the weight of a large metal water bottle and cooking pot. And the tunnel itself appears quite sizeable. Rivian quotes a capacity of 12.4 cubic feet, and the video shows a camera bag placed inside with plenty of room to spare. The tunnel should be able to accommodate at least a few duffel bags.
Finally, the noise. Or rather, lack of it. Obviously, without a combustion engine, the R1T is quieter than the Yukon accompanying it. But even at the low speeds needed for the commercial, the loudest sound from the electric truck come from the tires. It’s clear the NHTSA’s upcoming EV noise regulations are going to be a necessity. And that off-roading will sound very different in the future.
Rivian R1T Competition
The closest off-road-ready competitor to the R1T is the Bollinger B2. The R1T will launch with a bigger battery capacity, but most likely at a higher cost than the advertised $69,000. The B2 starts at $125k and only has two electric motors. Claimed range for the sole battery pack, a 120-kWh one, is 200 miles; Rivian has not revealed range details for the 105-kWh R1T. The B2 will have a higher ground clearance (up to 20”, versus the R1T’s 14” max), but the R1T will be able to tow more (11,000 lbs vs 7,500 lbs for the B2).
InsideEVs has predicted that the Tesla pickup will have a range of approximately 500 miles, and be able to tow up to 15,000 lbs. 0-60 time is claimed to be less than 3 seconds. However, until Tesla official unveils its truck, these numbers are still just predictions. Cost has also not been announced.
Ford has invested $500 million in Rivian already to help accelerate the Detroit automaker’s electric truck program. The only details we know about the announced electric F-150 is a planned 300-mile range.
The Rivian R1T has forced many automakers to accelerate their own electric truck plans. We’re likely to see much more footage of it in the near future.