Tesla makes great cars – really great electric cars – but they don't have a lot of variety. They make cars. Rivian, a new entry to the electric car market plans to make pickups and SUVs. That's a totally different market from the standard commuter car. Campers, hikers, haulers, and small business owners all have the option to switch to an electric vehicle. That's big news for consumers and may put Tesla in an awkward position. While these bigger vehicles carry a price tag similar to a luxury sedan, they just may be worth it for the gasless driving and incredible selection of features. Anything you want in a pickup or SUV pretty much comes standard with one of the new Rivian models.
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The R1T will be the first all-electric pickup truck. It's not a hybrid or an eco diesel; it's an electric truck. That means a full bed, high clearance at the wheels, and plenty of hauling capacity. While it may not be the sleekest or the most aggressive looking truck on the market, the features behind the dash – and the extra storage under the hood – make it worth a closer look.
For a light duty pickup truck, the R1T offers some seriously heavy duty towing. It has a max capacity of more than 11,000-lbs. That puts the F150, America's most popular pickup, in the dust, with a max capacity of between 5-8,000-lbs. Maxing out the hauling means that the R1T will make an ideal addition to a work fleet where contractors routinely use heavy machinery on the job. It also means no need to split up your camping gear or to watch the weight on a camper. Most fall under 8,000-lbs.
Sometimes it's not about what you can tow, but more about what you can haul. The R1T not only outclasses the competition in towing, but it also offers some serious lift for in-bed storage. With a payload capacity of more than 1,700-lbs, you may not need to use the hitch all that often. All of your tailgating gear fits comfortably on the bed, and with that much weight allowed, you can leave the trailer at home.
No, the R1T doesn't go from zero to sixty in just 2 seconds. It does the job in three. While that may not be quite up to Tesla standards, the 200-hp per wheel offers better control for off-road applications. This truck leaves gas-powered pickups in the dust at the starting line and continues to perform once it gets up to speed. With an acceleration time that meets or beats the Ferrari 488 or Corvette Z06, the R1T is the fastest accelerating pickup available.
Like any pickup truck, the R1T has a big, bed for serious storage, but it also has some nifty extra storage options. Like, the front trunk or the gear tunnel. The gear tunnel runs the entire width of the truck, making it a great place to tuck those unwieldy items like fishing rods or tent poles. The front trunk is a great spot to stash things you might need in a hurry, so you have the convenience of a bed – it comes with a locking cover, btw – and the easy accessibility of a trunk.
What's the use of an electric truck that won't get you where you're going? There really isn't one, which is why the R1T offers up to 400 miles or more on a full charge. For those that opt for the extended battery pack, the R1T provides just as much range as a full tank on a regular gas-powered vehicle. That's a lot of miles to cover, and fast charging means it's full and ready for another 400 miles in about an hour.
The gearbox storage area sits under the rear seats of the cab, with a fold-out door for access. But, that fold-out door also doubles as a place to sit or stand. That means you can fold down that access door and have an instant step stool to the roof of the cab. Add in modular roof racks, and you have another place to store your gear. The bed might be a little bit short at 55-inches, but the massive front trunk and other hidden storage options more than make up for lost space in the back.
For many drivers, five seats just aren't enough, and adventure seekers need more storage than you can get out of a car body style. The SUV is the solution for those seeking extra room or passenger space. The R1S is an electric SUV with top line towing capacity, great off-road capability, and more storage than you could imagine in a traditional layout. Add in some fun features like autopilot and underbelly skid protection, and you have a vehicle that is road and off-road ready.
An SUV isn't a truck, and it isn't meant to replace one. However, if any SUV could, it might just be the R1S. With a towing capacity equal to any light-duty pickup at just under 8,000-lbs, anything you can't fit in the trunk – or the front trunk – you can drop into a trailer. It tows just as much as most configurations of the F150, though details about mileage with towing aren't available, yet.
While adding on a trailer takes care of extra storage needs, you may be able to leave it parked if the issue is just the weight. The R1S carries just over 1,700-lbs with ease, an exact match for the R1T pickup body also coming from Rivian. That means as long as you can pack it into the available storage compartments, the R1S will likely have no trouble taking off and riding down the roads.
One of the best things about electric cars is the massive acceleration they deliver, and the R1S is no exception. It delivers the same 0-60 mph speed of 3 seconds that is so tempting in the R1T. Sure, you don't need eye peeling speed in the city, or even on back roads, but it's nice to know you have it. And, performance like that is hard to beat in any body style, much less an SUV.
For a 7-seater SUV, the R1S still manages to pack in plenty of places to stow your gear. The back trunk space is similar to what you might find in a Jeep or Land Rover, and there is more storage under the seats, but what takes the R1S – and every electric vehicle – over the top in terms of storage is the 11.7 cubic feet of front trunk space. No front engine block means more space to carry stuff.
With electric vehicles, one of the biggest consumer concerns is range. That concern is doubly important with adventure vehicles designed to offroad and hit less traveled areas. The R1S comes with three battery configurations, like the R1T, so buyers can get up to 410 miles on a full charge with the 180 kWh configuration. The base model, which starts at $72,500, comes in the 105 kWh version with a range of approximately 240 miles. While that might not be as much as a full tank of gas, it's plenty for most day trips, particularly with a lunch break/charging stop.
In keeping with the goal of zero emissions, the R1S also features durable and sustainable fabrics for the interior. Plenty of wood grain and luxury finishes pair well with the utility finishes designed to last. For example, the back of the first row of passenger seats comes with a floor mat finish, so third-row passengers don't destroy your interior. The wood finishes extend all the way to the rear with decorative insets along the sides.
While Tesla went minimalistic for its interior, the R1S uses several screens to deliver content to both drivers and passengers. Plus, instead of cluttering up the single control screen with things like current speed and charging levels, the instrument panel is on display within the driver's view when looking ahead – definitely easier to read at a glance. The rear infotainment screen lets backseat passengers control their own climate and access entertainment packages, making it a pleasure to drive or ride in the R1S.
While priced like luxury sedans, the Rivian pickup and SUV are built for the explorers out there. The rugged design features and pinpoint all-wheel-drive systems create outstanding performance vehicles. The truck is adaptable on the road or rock crawling, while the SUV elegantly combines storage and passenger space with plenty of rugged finishes. Both feature multiple cameras and sensors, so when fully autonomous driving becomes available, it should be just a quick, over-the-air-update before it's ready to engage. Rivian takes all the benefits inherent in an electric vehicle and makes them available to those who want a bit more performance than a car can offer.