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Hidden under that bed liner green paint and those faceted extended fenders is a 2023 Rivian R1T EV pickup. With all of the custom additions and the lift, you might not think it could even be an R1T. But it really is. A co-production of SoFlo Customs and Apocalypse Manufacturing, it is the first Rivian with a lift. 

For this first of its kind, a lot of fabrication took place. In fact, a lot more than with a live axle front and rear and more than SoFlo was expecting. SoFlo’s Joe Ghattas told The Drive that the expectation was to merely drop the subframe and align the motors to its new location. But that wouldn’t work. 

Why was this lifted Rivian so complicated to make?

Lifted 2023 Apocalypse Rivian R1T EV
2023 Apocalypse Rivian R1T EV | Apocalypse

“We had to fabricate every single part from scratch,” Ghattas said. “We thought we were going to be able to just slide that subframe down a bit. But we ended up having to make our own spindle from scratch, upper and lower control arms from scratch, and our own steering setup there to extend the rack back to where the driver reaches.”

But there is another layer of issues that modifiers don’t usually confront. Sensors. A gang of them communicate with most of the other sensors in the electrical system and also with the ECU, from adaptive dampers that electronically tie into the air springs and so on. 

What problems did Apocalypse have with sensors?

2023 Apocalypse Rivian R1T EV undercarriage shot
2023 Apocalypse Rivian R1T EV | Apocalypse

Ghattas says it took over nine months to fabricate and sort out the particulars of modifying an electric Rivian truck. “We went through a full set of airbags—blew ’em all up because the slightest differentiation of angles on these things makes a big difference,” he says. “This thing was engineered with very tight tolerances and we had to recreate all of that.”

But that wasn’t all. Rivian festoons the body with sensors that, again, communicate with other components like the adaptive cruise, automatic steering, and brakes. So, to add all of the new angular body panels that Apocalypse is known for, it had to experiment to make them operable. Without even one of them, the truck won’t even start, let alone run.

How much is the lifted Apocalypse Rivian R1T?

2023 Apocalypse Rivian R1T EV in front of house
2023 Apocalypse Rivian R1T EV | Apocalypse

What Rivian Taught Drivers About Electric Off-Road Vehicles

The new body panels are fiberglass parts Apocalypse makes. Combining them with the lift allows for 38-inch tall tires. There is also a skid plate to help protect the electric drive system underneath. So this Rivian, which Apocalypse calls the “Nirvana,” actually looks like it could tackle as extreme of an environment as many modified conventional trucks. 

But all of this goodness comes with a price. In this case, a new Apocalypse Nirvana costs a cool $150,000. It may be one of the few off-road EVs you’ll see if for no other reason than the complicated electronics makes most modifications almost impossible.