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Model Showcase: Rivian R1T

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Oct. 21, 2021—With electric pickups making a big showing in recent months, the Rivian R1T stands out. As General Motors made a big splash with its Hummer EV and Ford announced plans for an all-electric F-150, it’s a tough environment for a startup company to edge into the lucrative truck market.

Rivian appears to be the front-runner among those startups. Tesla’s Cybertruck remains unproven for production, and other companies like Lordstown Motors have hit serious snags. The R1T is getting favorable attention from automotive press and appears to be on track to deliver by the end of this year.

Plus, the R1T is full of nifty gadgets and features, like a camp kitchen that pops out of the side of the truck. What’s not to like there? Let’s dive into this industry newcomer.

The Specs

Rivian claims a 314-mile range on the current production model and claims that a larger range will be available in the future (as well as a shorter-range model, which is ostensibly aimed at a lower price point). The truck is powered by four electric motors—one on each wheel—to make a more than 800 horsepower in total. Rivian explains that it’s actually more like a dual-motor drive system on each axle, with the rear unit having more power and torque.

The four-motor configuration makes all-wheel-drive standard on the R1T. That system allows power to each wheel to change in slippery conditions, acting like a locking differential (Rivian actually claims it has better torque control than a locking diff). It also allows each wheel to move independently for a “tank turn,”  which spins the truck in a sitting circle.

The battery pack aboard the R1T are tested for extreme temperatures and towing of up to 11,000 pounds, according to Rivian.

Not part of the drivetrain, but interesting to mention, is the independent air suspension system. Rivian highlights its high adaptability in various driving conditions. It can adjust by around six inches to aid in handling, aerodynamics, and stability. The system’s “active damping” feature monitors driver activity and adjusts accordingly. The truck also has electro-hydraulic roll control. Motor Trend has a nice writeup on the suspension system.


Where to begin? Jalopnik rightly highlighted a built-in flashlight first. It stows away in the door molding and charges via a battery cell. There’s a power tonneau cover, roof racks that can be removed and attached across the bed, various cameras, and more.

Just behind the rear doors is a hollow space that Rivian calls the “gear tunnel” that spans the vehicle from side to side. If you’re so inclined, the tunnel can house a camp kitchen, which slides out and includes its own legs to stand.

The kitchen has two induction burners, a water tank and pump, and a sink with a spray faucet.

Another feature to highlight is an air compressor built into the truck bed. There’s a hose onboard that needs to be plugged in, and there you have a system that you can set to a certain PSI.

Oh, and outlets! There are four 120-volt power outlets, two 12-volt outlets, USB chargers, and other power sources all around the R1T.

ADAS and Self-Driving

Rivian has a standard suite of driver-assistance features that it calls Driver+. That includes common ADAS features like adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, and automatic emergency braking. There are also common warnings for rear cross-traffic, lane changes, and forward collision.

It also has what Rivian calls Highway Assist, which automatically steers brakes, and accelerates on highways with an attentive driver at the ready.

The standard system includes an interior camera that monitors driver alertness, according to Rivian.

Image: Rivian

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