Hybrids & Electrics

Tesla’s Going to Get Stiff Competition From the 2021 Rivian R1T

The new Rivian R1T has already made headlines, and it’s quickly becoming a must-have for fans of trucks and electric vehicles. Rivian has been around for more than a decade, but fleets of trucks and SUVs are just on the way now. With over $1 billion in funding from major players like Cox Automotive and Amazon, Rivian is attempting to take the automotive world by storm.

A striking, unique look

It’s impossible to mistake a Rivian vehicle (especially the Rivian R1T) for anything else on the road. Brand awareness and model identity will not be issues for Rivian. The Rivian R1T’s headlights look like an AC power outlet, reminding anyone who looks at them that it’s an electric vehicle. The R1T is 217 inches (just over 18 feet) in length and just short of 80 inches wide. Like the vehicles Tesla made famous, the Rivian R1T has a massive amount of power “under the hood”.

Unbelievable power

Some of the most popular trucks on the market have 0-60 times over ten seconds–it isn’t usually a spec that potential truck buyers look at. But Rivian is trying to change that with the R1T. The official Rivian website claims a time of three seconds. That’s 0-60 in 3.0. Not bad for a truck that comes in just shy of three tons. Interestingly, the official weight of the truck is barely half its towing capacity (5,886 lbs vs 11,000 lbs). The Rivian R1T is built to go fast when it’s necessary, and tow more than five tons when strength is required.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that the total horsepower of the vehicle is a staggering 750 HP. With that much power, incredible acceleration, and huge towing capacity, it seems like the range should be affected. But Rivian comes through again, promising a massive 400 mile range on a single charge. The specs cap off with a quad motor system and a 3-foot wading capacity–on an electric vehicle!

How the Cybertruck compares

It’s not the first electric vehicle to promise a semi-amphibious mode in any form, of course. Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed the Model S “can be used as a boat” and that the Tesla Cybertruck “will float” as well. However, the Cybertruck definitely aims for a certain aesthetic. Whether it’s “cyberpunk” or “ugly” depends on the beholder. For consumers that think both the Cybertruck and competitor Nikola Badger are a little too far in the Snow Crash direction, the Rivian R1T can fill a niche in the market for electric trucks that… simply look like trucks.

The future of Tesla and Rivian

Is the Rivian R1T going to steal every Tesla sale starting on the first day it rolls off the line? Of course not. Musk and Tesla have spent too long building a fanatical fanbase and producing quality vehicles, even if the occasional deadline has slipped. Tesla puts a unique, mischievous spin on every model–check out their long list of easter eggs. When it comes to electric vehicles, Tesla is the number one name in the market. Short of popular hybrid and plug-in vehicles from other manufacturers, Tesla dominates the industry.

Manufacturers like Rivian and Nikola are definitely poised to cut in on Tesla’s market going forward. It’s unlikely that Elon Musk’s near-monopoly on high-end electric vehicles will continue indefinitely. However, Rivian is shooting incredibly high with the R1T. If it makes it to consumers with the promised list of specs, everyone will take notice. A savvy businessman like Musk is almost certainly looking over his shoulder. More options for consumers are always better for competition, and Tesla has carved out a reliable slice of the pie. It’s Rivian’s move.

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