Fast Feature: Rivian R1T

An electric revolution or another plucky start up? This is the Rivian R1T and its a bit of a transatlantic surprise.

On first appearances the way the headlights are arranged make the nose of the car look a bit like a cow. Not a Jeremy Clarkson quote, just the first thing I thought when I saw photographs of the Rivian R1T, a new electric car from Michigan. The R1T is the fruits of the American start up’s labour, their first step into the automotive world.

The R1T isn’t a car however, its a pickup truck, that much is obvious from the press photographs. The reason for this is likely to try to appeal to the American market where the pickup truck accounts for 18% of total vehicles sold and where for the past 32 years the Ford F-Series pickup has been the best selling vehicle in the United States. If the R1T is going to make it anywhere, it should be here.

An electric pickup truck though sounds like an oxymoron but, when you look at it, makes complete sense. No engine means the R1T has an extra 330 litre boot in the front. No fuel tank means an extra 350 litre ‘gear tunnel’ under the rear seats alongside the large rear bed that defines a pickup which has a further 200 litre storage space underneath.

For the American market where haulage space is key the R1T works then. It’ll pull too, 4.9 tonnes, quite enough for any job that may be thrown at it.

Plenty of storage: All lockable and all useable

All this, the towing capability and storage is not the feature that would incline me towards this pickup however, its the range.

As electric cars develop and become more capable I have come to realise that at some point I will end up having to own one. The one thing stopping me is range so I decided, having done the journey as a first year undergraduate, I have maintained that an electric car would have to be capable of driving from London to Falmouth plus change. In short enough to get to central Falmouth, explore the local area and maybe drive out for the evening. So around 350 miles or 563 kilometres

With the 135kwh pack the Rivian R1T will do 400 miles (643 kilometres). Though this will drop to maybe 360 miles by the end of its life, its still sufficient. Its the first electric car I’ve read off that not only fits the range (Tesla’s Roadster wants to do 500) but is also practical and ‘cool’.

A quick turnaround but it would not be the first time. At the start of the year the HALO safety device looked ugly, with Mercedes Team Principle Toto Wolff saying he would take a chainsaw to it. 21 races later and now I’m used to it I would say it adds a bit of muscle to these heavy formula one cars. Opinions change fortunately.

Far from being a blunt object then, the Rivian R1T is maybe the practical urban weapon that the electric car world has been waiting for to convince young people that electric is the way to go.

The only thing holding it back is its price, sadly they won’t be mooved on that just yet. 

Going Green: Is the R1T a watershed moment or just another short fuse?


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