An all-electric truck is both a smart idea and a technological hurdle that seems exceedingly high. A startup based in Michigan thinks it can make the leap and bring an electron-sipping pickup to market. The company is called Rivian and its electric truck is called the R1T.
And it actually looks and sounds pretty cool.
As you might expect on a vehicle like this, the chassis is of the battery packed skateboard variety. That’s good for future body style changes if the tech underneath works just fine. It’s that tech that certainly sounds promising, if not equally ambitious. Each wheel is powered by a 147kW motor. Rivian will fit a 180 kWh battery pack and it says that this will be good for a massive 400-mile range. Additionally, with that pack feeding four drive units, the R1T can easily torque vector as needed, rip off a claimed three-second 0-60 mph blast, or two up to 11,000 pounds.
Even more surprising is that Rivian claim a DC Fast Charger will only need 20 minutes to supply enough juice for 100 to 150 miles of range.
There’s smart engineering going on all over this thing, and it’s not simply related to the battery and motor tech. Behind the seating space is an exterior covered storage compartment, just between the cab and the bed. You can fit skis or a snowboard in here, and the storage cover also doubles as a seat. That’s perfect for lacing up your snowboard boots.
Inside the cabin, the R1T goes full on luxury truck. There’s lovely wood and leather-looking materials found throughout the space and it’s paired with modern oversized screens. This is old meets new in a smart, stylish way. But there’s a focus on the work needs of a truck as well. The floors are made of a strong rubber. Rivian knows a truck owner will get mud on their boots, and this interior space can tackle that.
Underneath, Rivian have fitted high-strength skid plates for serious underbody protection. Additionally, the R1T can venture into three-foot water crossings and keep on chugging.
The plan is to offer two models at launch; the 180 kWh version and an entry-level 250-mile range 135 kWh truck. It won’t be cheap, of course, with an entry level price tag of $69,000. Apply the $7,500 federal tax credit and that dips to $61,500. Really though, that’s right around the amount full-size pickup builders are charging for their higher-spec luxe trucks.
It will be quite interesting to see if Rivian can truly deliver on the range promises. Should that turn out to be true, the R1T will make for an interesting prospect for pickup buyers. Especially when Rivian eventually produces a less expensive fleet version.