Toys for a climate-conscious leisure society
Settlers once conquered the western United States with the covered wagon. Pickup trucks then went there and shaped the image on American roads. But with the R1T, Rivian is now heralding the next revolution and ushering the platform truck into the electric future.
Americans and adventure – it’s a never-ending story. And that is hardly conceivable without a set of wheels. Because even the settlers needed their covered wagons to clean up the Wild West. And those who respect themselves today in California, Colorado or Oregon travel to the pampas in a flatbed truck to hike in the desert, climb the mountains or survey the forests.
Anyone who wants to do that in the future will probably drive a Rivian. Or at least one of over 70,000 pre-orders. Because even before Tesla, the California-registered startup brought the first electric pickup to market a few months ago, making what is probably the most archaic type of car on the market ready for the future. In theory, and when the base model arrives in 2024, the R1T will start at $67,500. Anyone who rides it already has paid at least $85,000. And if you tick all the boxes in the online store, you can even get a six-figure sum.
For a pickup, the Rivian can be pricey. Because while there are enough outliers among conventional competitors that cost around $100,000, prices for a Ford F-150, Ram 1500, or Chevrolet Silverado start at just under $30. $000. Seen in this light, the Rivian R1T is anything but a bargain. But for an electric car, it’s downright cheap – at least for one that plays in this league.
Because the Rivian not only has bigger batteries than a Porsche Taycan, but also more power. And even though the top speed is limited to 200 km/h, which is already more than most old-school pick-ups, it also accelerates better than most Stuttgart low-flyers: from 0 to 100 km/h in just over three seconds. And that with a live weight of three tons and a driver’s seat that hovers almost two meters above the ground. The kick feels like a catapult launch in a fighter jet and every sprint in a Porsche feels like a walk in comparison.
Four engines for propulsion
Instead of two, the R1T has four engines, whose power totals around 835 hp and whose collective torque curve peaks above 1200 Newton metres. And the battery is also largely unmatched: the first examples came with a 135 kWh battery and had a range of 505 kilometers according to the official standard. Later there will even be a version with 180 kWh and a range of over 600 kilometres. Even the entry-level model, which will also be available later, can still impress. With only one motor per axle, it still develops more than 600 hp and with 105 kWh, even the smallest battery offers as much energy as a Mercedes EQS.
A kick-down is enough to shake the worldview of every Porsche driver. But that’s not the essence of this pickup. Like any light truck, the Rivian is of the easy-going variety. You dominate things, swim relaxed in traffic and enjoy a level of comfort rarely found in conventional pickups. Quiet, effortless acceleration and air suspension make it the sedan among load carriers. And the fact that it doesn’t lock against every tight curve, crunch a cardan shaft or cross any axles makes the colossus almost as practical as a small car.
iPod instead of tanks
But the Rivian not only drives very differently from the usual pickups, which like to show off their often no less impressive power with the accent of a steam ram and are as easy to control as a herd of panicking buffaloes. He also looks very different. Where traditional bestsellers like the Toyota Tundra or Ford F-150 celebrate chrome orgies and flex their muscles as openly as Venice Beach coachbuilders, the Rivian with its unadorned silhouette, smooth surfaces and blazing headlights Spectacular LED makes an impression a UFO approaching for landing. iPod instead of tank is the motto and when the R1T criss-crosses the wilderness, it feels like Captain Kirk is camping. This also suits the cabin, which, with large empty spaces and even larger screens, wants to be more of a cockpit than an engine room.
Even though the Rivian is a bargain for its league and can easily keep up with mainstream competitors in terms of payload or trailer load, not to mention the all-terrain capabilities of its four terrain programs and ground clearance XXL at the push of a button is good with this configuration Of course not like a classic company car for farmers, cattle ranchers and building contractors. That’s why Rivian is positioning it not as a “workhorse”, but as a toy for the climate-conscious hobby society and praising the pickup as the first fully electric adventure truck.
Don’t be afraid of the pampas
The website therefore looks like an outdoor portal, even employee portraits are more likely to be photographed on the beach or in the snow than in the office. And of course, there are all sorts of outdoor accessories for the Rivian: from the slide-out camp kitchen to the practical “Gear Tunnel” – that continuous storage compartment between the cabin and the platform, which is not possible only because the Rivian has no tank and no gimbal – to the house tent on the platform to the wardrobe in the front trunk, which alone is larger than the luggage compartment of most small cars.
In Rivian’s case, too, they know there is still a long way to go before the farmers and foresters of the sparsely populated Midwest are electrified, and so they begin to suppress the country from the coasts. But last year they proved that the Rivian was not afraid of the pampas and that the infrastructure there was further than expected with a spectacular record: the R1T was the first electric car to travel the Trans America Trail and thus crossed the whole continent without using a road somewhere.