Will Rivian Follow Up Electric Pickup with Rally EV?

Rivian’s electric pickup, the R1T, is still under development. However, its electric architecture and performance is already drawing heavy interest. As well as competition, in the form of the Ford F-150 Electric and Tesla’s to-be-unveiled pickup. But the company is also thinking about the future. Rivian’s CEO and founder RJ Scaringe has already indicated the company’s truck and SUV will eventually be joined by a third, “rally-style” vehicle. In a recent report published by The Drive, that rally EV may have already been spotted.

Rivian Rally EV Background

2020 Rivian-Rivian
2020 Rivian | Rivian

At the moment, the only officially announced Rivian vehicles are the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV. The R1T is planned to release sometime in 2020, with the R1S to follow a year later.

Rivian Skateboard-Rivian
Rivian Skateboard | Rivian

Both vehicles are based on a “skateboard” platform. This platform contains the suspension, braking components, batteries, electric motors, and thermal control systems. The platform is essentially interchangeable between body styles, which is why Rivian can use it as the basis for both a pickup truck and an SUV. Many other investors, such as Ford, are interested in it for the same reason.

2020 Rivian-Rivian
2020 Rivian | Rivian

But Rivian isn’t going to limit themselves to only the R1T and R1S. At the 2018 LA Auto Show, Scaringe went on record about a follow-up model with a smaller wheelbase, a “bananas” high ground clearance interpretation of a rally car.

And now, members of the Rivian Forums website claim to have spotted it.

Rivian Rally EV Spotted and Rendered

Rivian Rally EV render
Rivian Rally EV render | Rivian Forums

As The Drive reports, back in February, Rivian Forums spy photographers were taking photos of a prototype R1T undergoing testing at Rivian’s Michigan headquarters. However, the photogs also managed to get a shot of something else through an open door.

The object in question appeared to be a blue styling buck. Basically, a physical rough-model of how seating and other ergonomics will be laid out. As the roof line was completely different from the R1T’s and R1S’s, the forum administrator who posted the photos mused that it could be an early design of the planned rally vehicle.

Now, the Rivian Forums site used what could be seen of the seating buck to make a rendering of the Rivian Rally EV.

Rivian Rally EV render with spoiler deployed
Rivian Rally EV render with spoiler deployed | Rivian Forums

As both the Rivian Forums administrator and The Drive note, the render follows the boxy outline of the buck. It’s similar in profile to many Dakar rally trucks. The rendering also includes a solar panel mounted to the rear glass, as well as a roll cage in the interior. The former wouldn’t be an unusual EV feature, and the latter would definitely be fitted if Rivian wanted to go racing.

Rivian Rally EV Performance Speculation

Rivian Rally EV render
Rivian Rally EV render | Rivian Forums

As of this writing, Rivian has not released any details about a possible rally EV. The company has not confirmed or denied anything regarding the spy photos. However, we can at least get a baseline rough estimate.

Presumably, the rally EV will be built on a modified version of Rivian’s “skateboard” platform. The R1T and R1S are planned to release with battery packs ranging from 105-180 kWh. With four motors, one at each wheel, the R1T is claimed to produce up to 750 horsepower, and go up to 400 miles on a charge. In terms of speed, Rivian claim a top speed of 125 mph and a 0-60 time of 3 seconds.

With a shorter wheelbase, the Rivian Rally EV would most likely weigh less than the R1T or R1S. The wheelbase’s impact on battery capacity is unknown, but less weight would result in improved acceleration, and potential a longer range. Although, if Scaringe really aims to go bananas with this third model, Rivian may prioritize power and speed over range.

The electric truck market is about get a lot more interesting.