Despite being in existence for nearly a decade, Rivian has operated in relative obscurity. However the company has finally decided to break cover by debuting its R1T electric pickup slightly ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show. The American startup is attempting to best other EV manufacturers by filling unoccupied space on the market. While electric pickups do exist, only the Ohio-based Workhorse has a clear production plan and that’s intended to primarily serve commercial fleets.

Meanwhile, the R1T is being designed with the consumer market in mind and boasts some seriously impressive specifications. 

The 5-passenger pickup uses a quartet of electric motors driving each wheel and can be configured for a total output of between 300 and 562 kW (402 and 753 hp). Batteries are similarly customizable and are available as 105 kWh, 135 kWh, and 180 kWh packs. The automaker is claiming at least 230 miles of range with the most basic trim and over 400 miles from the 180 kWh battery — which is coming to market first. Like Tesla, Rivian intends to lead with its most-expensive trim when assembly begins at the firm’s facility in Normal, Illinois.

Rivian also suggested a charge rate of up to 160 kW at fast-charging stations and an 11-kW for residential applications.

With a top speed of just 125 mph, the R1T probably won’t be the pinnacle of highway performance but it should be a monster from a stoplight. Higher-trimmed models are said to achieve 60 mph in roughly 3 seconds while the plain Jane base unit can still manage the task in under 5 seconds.

Equally impressive was the claimed payload capacity of 800 kg (1,764 lbs) and a towing capacity of 5,000 kg (11,023 lbs). It also has a number of impressive utility quirks, like a “lockable Gear Tunnel” just behind the cab. The compartment spans the entire width of the vehicle and further improves the R1T’s solid storage capacity. Its doors also double as steps to access the bed, which comes with its own integrated tonneau cover and room to hide a spare. There are also three 110-volt outlets with more than 400 watts available for powering tools.

According to the manufacturer, the R1T will launch with a robust hardware suite “with multiple modalities including camera, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and a high precision GPS coupled with high definition maps.” The hardware is said to be sufficient for Level 3 (hands-off wheel and eyes off road) autonomy for highway operation. However, Rivian said that the vehicle will have “a range of self-driving features focused on enabling active lifestyles” beyond highway cruising and will gradual improve via over-the-air updates.

The design is satisfyingly futuristic, reminiscent of the concept vehicles of yesterday but with the dimensions of a modern full-sized truck. Although, with the company making such lofty promises, it could probably look like it had already been in an accident and still hold one’s interest.

Rivian is promising a lot here, everything from blistering acceleration to Level 3 autonomy. While it also seems to be hinting at upgradable self-driving tech, we recommend purchasing a product on what it’s offering at launch.

Deliveries of the R1T are expected to begin in late 2020, according to the company. The base price will be $69,000 before incentives, but those models won’t be available until later on. Rivian suggested the lower trimmed units should become available within 12 months of the start of production. However, you can drop a refundable $1,000 deposit on one now if you’re feeling confident the manufacturer will deliver.

[Images: Rivian]




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