We take a quick drive in the all-new Rivian R1T electric pick-up truck on its homesoil.
The automotive industry as a whole might be slowing down because of circumstances outside of its control, but one area is gathering momentum: electric pick-up trucks. More and more EV trucks are appearing stateside, ranging from Tesla’s as-yet-unrealised Cybertruck, to the vast Hummer EV and the Ford F-150 Lightning.
Another American upstart is Rivian, and having made plenty of noise over the past few years with a prototype electric ute called the R1T, it’s finally on the road and we’ve been for an early drive.
The first production R1Ts are now with customers, and the brand’s forthcoming SUV, the R1S, will share much of the tech from this truck. They’ll be in Europe from next year and right-hand drive cars are planned to follow for Australia.
Instead of traditional dealerships, Rivian plans to open ‘Hubs’, the first of which is in Venice Beach, California. Like NIO’s ‘Houses’, these Hubs provide more than a place to look at the cars. Shared spaces, for working and being creative or relaxing, are all offered. The brand’s models look completely in place in the cool surroundings, surfboards hanging out of the rear of the R1S SUV.
But there’s nothing chilled out about the way the Rivian R1T pick-up performs, if you decide to lean on its quad-motor all-electric set-up. Two e-motors are mounted on each axle, with a total power output of 555kW resulting in serious performance.
The 0-100km/h sprint takes just three seconds, and despite the 2.7-tonne kerbweight there’s plenty to praise, dynamically, with the R1T. It’s almost like an electric sports car in its responses, and very different to any pick-up before it.
It’s agile, nimble almost, and it has the turning circle of a small hatchback plus supercar-rivalling acceleration. This in a vehicle that can wade through around a metre of water and with a payload capacity greater than 800kg.
There’s eye-catching tech and genuine practicality, too. The neatly integrated double-screen infotainment is tasteful, the front row is spacious and there are six USB ports throughout the cabin.
There’s lots of room for rear passengers, while there’s also a sizeable front boot and just ahead of the rear axle is the ‘Gear Tunnel’, which spans the body, made possible by the EV platform.
It’s early days for the electric pick-up market, and indeed for Rivian, but this is an impressive and assured vehicle that will suit EV buyers wanting something with a mix of practicality, performance, plus good manners on and off-road. We’ll reserve a star rating for Automotive Daily’s extensive first drive review when it reaches Europe.
|Model:||Rivian R1T Quad Motor|
|Powertrain:||135kWh battery/4x e-motors|
|Transmission:||Single-speed auto, 4WD|
|Top speed:||210km/h (est)|