Well On Their Way
Not only are we seeing more and more all electric vehicles arriving into the market, but more than a few are coming from companies that are new to the automotive scene. And while, so far, some have proven to be merely smoke and mirrors. There are startups like Rivian that are actually delivering the goods. Case in point, their R1T pickup!
This 2022 Rivian R1T all-electric pickup truck arrived ahead of the game, when both Ford and GM were still engineering their own fully electrified pickups. And, likely years ahead of a production Tesla Cybertruck, if that ever even happens.
At first glance, the R1T’s interior may appear a little plain, but it’s quite well executed; fit and finish being the bane of many startup automotive companies, doesn’t seem to be a problem here. There is a non-serious-struck-like vibe; say like a Honda Ridgeline, which will be embraced by some, a turn-off to others.
Now, we’re not fans of having to do just about everything through a touchscreen, but at least the Rivian’s is very responsive and things are relatively easy to find. While a lot of EVs are dual-motors, and GMC’s Hummer even has 3, Rivian is available now with one for each wheel for true 4-wheel-drive; which not only powers legit off-road chops, but torque-vectoring handling prowess too. Not to mention delivering an immense amount of power to the pavement. 415-horsepower for the front axle, 420 at the rear for a total output of 835-horsepower and 908 lb-ft. of torque. The Quad-Motor’s battery pack delivers 314-miles of range, but a soon to be available Max pack should push it to over 400.
All R1T’s are 4-door crew cabs with a 4½–foot bed; and standard air suspension has 6-inches of adjustment to prioritize handling, or pump it up as much as 14.9-inches of ground clearance when you select one of the many off-road specific drive modes. Plus, it will self-level while hauling or towing up to 11,000-lbs. There are active dampers too, to help minimize body roll in corners; certainly not your average pickup truck tech.
Our Adventure Edition tester had all kinds of useful features like onboard air compressor, power tonneau cover, cargo rails that can be mounted above the bed or on the roof, a flashlight, and even a removable Bluetooth speaker. Like Ford’s Lightning, there is a front trunk…or “frunk”. Under a power opening hood is room for 11.1 cubic feet of cargo. Like Ridgeline, there is some under bed storage too. But Rivian’s best trick is the 11.7 cubic foot pass thru cargo tunnel in front of the bed. Impressive.
Outside, the R1T is more midsize than full-size, but with a very wide stance. Body panels are smooth, and its rounded face with unique lighting, has it looking like nothing else on the road. The minimal lower body cladding and standard tow hooks are the only things that really scream rugged.
At our test track, regardless of drive mode, the R1T pounced off the line and sprinted to 60 in just 3.2-seconds. Now every launch was not exactly the same. There was a tendency to pull to whichever side was getting the best grip, requiring a little bit of effort to keep it straight. Not much sound was coming from the motors, we heard mostly wind and road noise as speed built rapidly until we hit about 110, when power then started dying off. We finished the ¼-mile in 11.8-seconds at 111 miles-per-hour. With a motor for each wheel, there was definitely a unique feel through our handling course, with both oversteer and understeer readily available. The chassis itself was solid and well-planted, but there was a fair amount of body roll, and a little bounciness to the suspension.
Braking runs were very consistent with no fade and short 110-foot stops from 60 the norm. There was quite a bit of forward pitch, but it stopped straight and true. Plenty of safety features, including cameras and sensors that deliver a real-time depiction of the traffic, road hazards, and even people around the vehicle, right in gauge display. The R1T has a fair efficiency rating of 48-kWh per 100 miles.
If you’ve been following the Rivian, you know that pricing has been a bit of a roller coaster. But as of now, things start at $73,000. That’s for the announced dual-motor AWD standard range truck. Our test Quad-Motor Large battery pack AWD goes for $87,000.
We’ve long expected a fully-electric pickup truck to arrive, though we didn’t envision one this good coming from a new company. And, while we truly do love this pickup, it’s the stablemate R1S SUV that will likely have a much bigger impact. But, with the 2022 R1T, Rivian is not only off to a good start, they’re already well on their way toward success.
Motor Setup: Quad-Motor
Battery Size: 135 kWh
Torque: 908 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 3.2 seconds
1/4 Mile: 11.8 seconds at 111 mph
60-0 Braking: 110 feet (avg)
Range: 314 miles
Towing Capacity: Up to 11,000 lbs