"Hi! We are Rivian, and we send the competition into oblivion"

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This is more of a statement from Rivian than an announcement. The company has made it quite clear that it has the stomach to take on the biggest, baddest bully in the market - Tesla - head-on. Even though Tesla enjoys a better brand recall, Rivian has taken an alternate path to become a household name in the EV adventure lifestyle segment. The startup from Michigan has been promoting its Rivian R1T truck as an EV camper now. Seeing the photos on the company’s social media, we must say it looks exciting.

The Tesla-Challenger Is Here

Rivian has been at the forefront of EV news lately, but here’s a little about the company for the ones living under the rock. Just like any other electric car manufacturer, Rivian also started off by stepping into the supercar segment. However, the company played it smart and decided to branch out before it disappeared into oblivion. A decade post its inception, the carmaker came out with a product that will change the way we look at the segment adored by people of the States - pickup trucks. Rivian launched the R1T pickup truck that looked as cool in reality as it does on paper.

Truck That Spells F-U-N

Americans love trucks, and the ongoing EV paradigm shift will most likely impact this segment the most. Recently, Tesla announced that its truck will be priced "well under $50,000". Rivian decided to steal its thunder by taking a different path. In fact, the camper announcement made more of an impact than a Tesla-undercutting-price announcement would.

The R1T equipped with the camper requirement showed us a variety of "products" on offer. The Rivian R1T comes with roof rack-mounted Maxtrax recovery boards, a built-in air compressor, a shovel, and a Hi-Lift jack. While the others are self-explanatory, let’s discuss about the hi-lift jack. This is as gimmicky as it can get on this vehicle. The Rivian R1T is devoid of any high lift points, and using it anywhere would damage the body parts. So, instead of being an actual useable part, the hi-lift jack is a mere feature on paper.

Family That Eats Together, Stays Together

The Rivian R1T Isn't Only An EV - It's A Zero-Emission Camper Too
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Rivian has also offered a 12V refrigerator in the frunk. What’s a frunk, you ask? Well, it’s a front trunk. Simple. As we mentioned earlier, Rivian revealed a specialized kitchen set for the R1T electric truck at the Overland Expo West in Flagstaff Arizona. The company replied to a user on Twitter stating the kitchen will be available as an official accessory right from the launch of the truck. The R1T’s retractable kitchen includes two induction burners, cookware, utensils, and a sink with five gallons of water storage.

Smartly Played, Rivian!

The Rivian R1T Isn't Only An EV - It's A Zero-Emission Camper Too
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Rivian has hit every enthusiast’s weak point with this news - la familia. To a gearhead like you and me, the astonishing figures like 0-60 mph in three seconds, 400-mile range, etc. are enough to grab our attention. But to the other family members, they are mere numbers. This kind of equipment, on the other hand, will intrigue them as well. Well played, Rivian! Looks like the execs at the Michigan office watched Fast and Furious movies before coming up with ’family before everything’ ideas.

Kudos to whoever planned the whole marketing campaign for Rivian as well. The automaker sent a couple of team members to Sedona, with the kitchen installed in the R1T, on Memorial Day to give a glimpse of how much fun this whole experience could be in real-world conditions. Some fantastic pictures were clicked and shared on social media to hype the product that was suffering after Tesla’s ’under $50,000’ news.

When Can We Expect A Little More Clarity?

The Rivian R1T Isn't Only An EV - It's A Zero-Emission Camper Too
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Rivian also stated that, “Users can light their surroundings and cook using the vehicle’s power for over a week using only 20 kWh — or 11 percent — of the largest 180kWh Rivian battery pack.” This is a little vague for now and we will wait for Rivian to drop the official numbers, because this is like Schrodinger’s cat theory. There is a refrigerator in the frunk as well, which will obviously run on the truck’s battery charge. Do these figures include the fridge’s energy consumption or not? And, what surrounding lighting is the company talking about? Perhaps, we’ll have to wait for a bit to solve this mystery.

Higher Risk, Higher Return

The 2020 Rivian R1T Electric Truck Middle Fingers Tesla with a 3-Second Sprint to 60 mph and 400 Mile Range Exterior
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Stepping into the truck segment and launching a product that could pave the way for other manufacturers seemed like a big risk initially. But this is what made the company what it is today and it is enjoying the limelight before the production version has even been officially launched.

This is not your conventional work truck, but it sure has the capabilities. The towing capacity is rated at 11,000 pounds, whereas the payload hauling capacity is rated at 1,760 pounds.

The truck bed is not as spacious as seen on current crop of trucks, but Rivian has designed it smartly. The electronically-operated tailgate can be used as a sitting bench at 90-degrees, and as a flatbed when opened at 180-degrees. An adjustable air suspension is also provided that can raise the R1T from 7.9 inches to 14.2 inches by the press of a button.

Rivian R1T size and off-road ability
Length 215.5 inches
Width 73.3 inches
Height 71.4 inches
Wheelbase 136 inches
Approach angle 34 degrees
Departure angle 30 degrees
Breakover angle 26 degrees

With Those Figures, It Should Be Called Rev-ian

The Rivian R1T Isn't Only An EV - It's A Zero-Emission Camper Too
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The R1T produces 788 ponies that help you reach the 60 mph figure in three seconds flat in the biggest battery pack option. Four electric motors - one connected to each wheel - churn out 197 horsepower each. Rivian has made the R1T available in three battery pack options; 105 kWh, 135 kWh, and 180 kWh. The R1T with the biggest pack can be driven for 400 miles on a single charge. The 0-60 mph mark is achieved in 4.9 seconds with the smallest battery pack, and in 3.2 seconds with the largest battery pack.

Rivian R1T Battery Packs
Entry Range Mid-Range Long Range
Capacity 105kWh 135kWh 180kWh
Power 300kW 562kW 522kW
Torque 560Nm 1,120Nm 1,120Nm
Range 230 miles 300 miles 400 miles
Top speed 125mph 125mph 125mph
0-60 mph 4.9s 3s 3.2s
Payload 800kg 800kg 800kg
Trailer rating 5,000kg 5,000kg 5,000kg

Enough For The Technology Lovers Here

The 2020 Rivian R1T Electric Truck Middle Fingers Tesla with a 3-Second Sprint to 60 mph and 400 Mile Range Exterior
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If you are looking at the Rivian R1T from a tech-head’s point-of-view, there’s a 15.6-inch touchscreen system on the dashboard, a 12.3-inch instrument cluster, and Level 3 autonomy. In terms of storage, there is a horizontal hollow space in the truck which is disguised as a storage space, but is actually where the gear tunnel would go in a combustion engine. The frunk that we spoke about earlier is also quite large at 11.6-cubic feet.

Our Take

Rivian has been able to keep up the hype for now, but the R1T is scheduled to be launched in early 2021. Does the automaker have more rabbits to pull out of the hat until then? Or will Tesla trump Rivian when it takes the curtains off its electric truck? It sure is a close battle, but for now, Rivian takes the cake in our opinion. What are your thoughts on this? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Further reading

The 2020 Rivian R1T Electric Truck Middle Fingers Tesla with a 3-Second Sprint to 60 mph and 400 Mile Range Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Rivian R1T Pickup.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
About the author

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