• Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks

The Rivian R1T checks almost all boxes and could very well attain dominance in the electric pickup truck market

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The Rivian R1T has taken the pickup truck segment by storm. And, this isn’t even an exaggeration. The decade-old startup has managed to bring out a truck that has covered almost all the bases quite well. It’s strong on power (800+ horses), performance (0-60 mph in three seconds), range (400 miles), technology (tank turn, gear guard, etc.), and even towing capacity (11,000 pounds). Even though EVs are the future, a lot of people have still not warmed up to the idea of them for a variety of reasons. I’m not saying that truck doesn’t have its drawbacks, but it is arguably the best electric proposition at the moment, beating the likes of the Ford F-150 Lightning, the GMC Hummer EV, and the Tesla Cybertruck. If we were to advocate for EVs today, we’d use the Rivian R1T as our talking point, and here’s why we would do that:

Rivian R1T – Exterior

Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks
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The R1T looks much different than the conventional pickup trucks, but it isn’t too radical or unorthodox like the Tesla Cybertruck. It still retains the typical pickup truck body style, but with futuristic elements. Up front, you’ve got two vertical-slotted headlights with an LED bar running the width of the truck. The surrounds of the headlights serve as the DRLs as well as the turn signals. There’s no grille here, but you get a mesh design on the bumper to keep it from looking too plain. There are two tow hooks as well. The frunk is pretty massive, with 11 cubic feet of space available at your disposal. There is a charging port on the passenger side on the front bumper. The port’s cover can be opened and closed by placing your finger on three vertical lines on the black cladding here.

The side profile is quite neat, devoid of any major cuts or creases. The square wheel arches along with black plastic cladding running all around add a little sporty cred to the truck. It comes with flush door handles as well. It rides on 20-inch sweet-looking wheels, but they don’t aid the aerodynamics. Perhaps, something on those lines could be offered in the future. The wheels come wrapped in 275/65 section Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tires. 21- and 22-inch wheels are optional.

Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks
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The highlight here, however, is the gear tunnel. This is basically a storage space behind the rear seats. There are buttons on both sides of the bed rails which need to be pressed for the gear tunnel doors to be opened. There are access doors on either side and they can bear weights of up to 300 pounds each, which means you can use it to climb and access the bed, or sit on it during camping, etc. It offers 11.6 cubic feet of space, 0.6 cubic feet more than what the frunk offers.

Although you can stuff in suitcases, duffle bags, and whatnot, Rivian will be offering adventure and camping gear that can be equipped here. The coolest one is the slide-out camp kitchen. It includes stuff like a countertop, a two-burner electric cooktop, a four-gallon water tank, sink, and a 30-piece dishware set. All this for $5,000. Apart from this, Rivian also offers a gear tunnel shuttle that is basically a slide-out platform that comes out from the passenger side. It’s six feet when extended out and comes with 12-volt and 110-volt outlets. It can take up to 250 pounds of weight as well. It comes as standard with the slide-out kitchen, but you can also buy this separately if you don’t want to spend $5,000 to go and cook outside.

Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks
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Coming to the rear, you have an LED strip that spans the entire width of the truck, just like the LED strip up front. The tailgate can be opened using a button on the bed rail. The top-spec model comes with a Tonneau cover that is also electrically operated. Again, there’s a button on the bed rail, pressing which will slide the Tonneau cover back, and pressing it again will bring it in place. Unfortunately for the old-schoolers, there’s no option of a manual Tonneau cover. Inside the bed, you have household-style outlets. Underneath the floorboard, the automaker has placed a full-size spare wheel. There’s an onboard air compressor here as well. All said and done, the truck bed is just 4.5 feet, which can be a deal-breaker for some folks.

How Big Is The Rivian R1T?

Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks
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The Rivian R1T is 217.1 inches long, 79.3 inches wide, and 73 inches tall. The wheelbase measures 135.8 inches. It offers a generous ground clearance of up to 14.5 inches.

2022 Rivian R1T exterior dimensions
Height 73 inches
Length 217.1 inches
Wheelbase 135.8 inches
Width 79.3 inches
Ground clearance 14.5 inches

How Much Does The Rivian R1T Weigh?

The Rivian R1T is a pretty heavy truck, tipping the scales at 7,173 pounds.

How Much Can The Rivian R1T Tow and Haul?

The Rivian R1T can tow up to 11,000 pounds and will haul up to 1,760 pounds. The towing capacity is quite impressive, but it will take a huge hit on the range if you’re towing at full capacity. In a test conducted by Audi, towing to full capacity reduced the range by half! That’s a major drawback that we’ll have to live with until charging times are reduced drastically and you have charging stations in abundance like you have gas stations today.

Rivian R1T – Interior

Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks
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The cabin is a pretty cool place to be in. The seats are bolstered very well and there’s ample cushioning for your neck and shoulders as well. The seats are upholstered with vegan leather. There are underneath storage spaces here as well. There’s also a removable Bluetooth speaker in here with a dedicated slot to park it in. It charges when placed in its slot. Unlike most of the Tesla models, the Rivian R1T comes with a digital instrument cluster. It shows quite a lot of drive-related data and you won’t have to turn your attention to the touchscreen every time. You can also find a huge panoramic sunroof up here. Apart from this, there’s nothing else noteworthy.

So, let’s jump straight to the touchscreens system. The Rivian R1T comes with a 15.6-inch touchscreen on the center console that controls literally everything. Right from your HVAC controls, to opening hoods and gear tunnel doors, to adjusting the mirrors and steering wheel, everything is done with the help of the touchscreen. Some settings can be tweaked using the rollers on the steering wheel, but to assign a function to them, you have to revert to the touchscreen.

Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks
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Fortunately, the basic HVAC controls are present at the bottom of the screen, irrespective of what page you’re on. While it all seems cool, it sure is a tad bit annoying. Even the air vents are controlled by going into the control settings on the touchscreen system. Now, coming to the most surprising bit – the infotainment system doesn’t support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto! No matter how well-loaded the infotainment system is, this will be quite a bummer.

On a side note, Rivian is probably aiming to sell the R1T to police departments as well. The automaker has developed unique seats to allow cops to carry their guns with ease. PDs have been incorporating electric vehicles into their fleet, and they’re saving a huge amount for the department. Not to mention, cops are pretty happy with them, too The upcoming Fisker Ocean is being aimed as a rescue vehicle. Such quirks will definitely push PDs to look into these vehicles.

Rivian R1T – Powertrain and Performance

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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The Rivian R1T and its SUV avatar, the R1S, are underpinned by a skateboard platform. It comes with a quad-motor setup as standard – one electric motor on each wheel –that puts out 835 horsepower and 908 pound-feet of torque combined. Rivian claims that the R1T can sprint to 60 mph from rest in three seconds and to 100 mph in seven seconds. Car and Driver, however, could do it in 3.3 seconds

The R1T comes with eight drive modes and Rivian recently showcased how each of them performs:

  • Sport Mode
  • Off-Road Drift Mode
  • All-Purpose Drive Mode
  • Off-Road Auto Mode
  • Off-Road Rock Crawl Mode
  • Off-Road Rally Mode
  • Conserve Mode
  • Towing

Rivian R1T – Battery, Range, and Charging

The 2020 Rivian R1T Electric Truck Middle Fingers Tesla with a 3-Second Sprint to 60 mph and 400 Mile Range Interior
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The Rivian R1T will be offered with a choice of three battery packages – 105 kWh, 135 kWh, and 180 kWh. The 135 kWh battery pack is what’s available as standard for now, and it offers an EPA-estimated range of 314 miles. The ‘Max Pack’ 180 kWh battery pack offers 400+ miles of range, but it is a $10,000 option. Rivian plans to introduce an entry-level 105 kWh battery pack as well and estimates a range of around 230 miles. Expect the starting price to come down once this battery pack is introduced.

The Rivian truck supports fast charging up to 160 kW. This means you can add about 200 miles of range in just 30 minutes. An 11 kW onboard charger is present that helps rapid charging with a Level 2 charger.

Rivian R1T – Technology

Tank Turn

The company has invested big in technology and that is evident. We’re not talking about the infotainment system here. Back in 2019, Rivian showcased how the Tank Turn. As the name suggests, the truck turns on a dime, just like a tank. This is possible because the R1T comes with four independent motors. The motors on one side of the truck spin forward and on the other side, in the opposite direction. However, it can only be used on slick surfaces like dirt, gravel, and grass.

K-Turn

Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks
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Last year, we got to know that Rivian has also filed for a technology called ‘K-Turn’. Unlike the Tank Turn, the K-Turn brings the steering input into the equation because the figures filed with the patent show that the steering wheel needs to be turned a little more beyond the steering lock point. Instead of counter-spinning the motors on each side, this feature inputs forward torque to the front wheels and backward torque to the rear wheels. This way, the rear wheels can be kept static while the front wheels slip out of place and direct the vehicle in the direction of the steering input. The benefit of this is that the truck’s orientation can be changed in minimal space.

Unlike the Tank Turn which can be activated on grass, gravel, dirt, and other similar surfaces, you’ll be able to use the K-Turn on most surfaces. This will make life easier when parking in tight spots or maneuvering in congested places.

Gear Guard

Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks
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This is similar to Tesla’s Sentry Mode. The Gear Guard system makes use of five cameras out of the 11 present on the truck to provide a 360-degree view of the truck. The cameras start recording a video when someone is less than a foot away from the vehicle. An animated character shows up on the touchscreen system to warn people with ill-intention that they are being recorded. The Gear Guard system also comes with a cable that can be used to tie stuff in the trunk. The steel braided cable’s plugs/cutouts are in the bed right under the air compressor. It doesn’t have a key or something; it gets locked when the truck is locked. If something goes wrong, the alarm goes off and the owner is notified on his Rivian Mobile App.

Rivian R1T – Pricing

Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks
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The Rivian R1T currently comes in two trims – Explore Package and Adventure Package. The Explore Package starts at $67,500, whereas the Adventure Package starts at $73,000. Initially, a Launch Edition was also offered that retailed at $74,000.

How Much Does A Fully Loaded Rivian R1T Cost?

We configured and added all the options to see how much will a fully loaded Rivian R1T cost you. The answer is $103,965.

We started our build with the Adventure Package trim that starts at $73,000. Mind you, we added whatever was possible since the whole idea of this exercise is to see how expensive the Rivian R1T can get. Here’s a list of all the optional stuff we added:

  • Max battery pack option – $10,000
  • Exterior shade (Compass Yellow/Rivian Blue) – $2,500
  • 20-inch All-Terrain Dark wheels – $3,500
  • Full-size spare – $800
  • Off-Road upgrade – $2,000
  • Interior Forest Edge theme - $2,000
  • Rivian Camp Kitchen x Snow Peak – $5,000
  • Three-Person Tent – $2,650
  • Rooftop Bike Mount – $250
  • Snowboard/Ski Mount – $320
  • Kayak Mount – $220
  • SUP/Surfboard Mount – $300
  • Wall Charger – $500
  • All-Weather Floor Mats – $175
  • Off-Road Recovery Kit – $600
  • Field Kit – $150

Final price – $103,965

This doesn’t include the $7,500 federal tax credit that the R1T is eligible for. If you deduct the full $7,500 credit, then the R1T can effectively cost you $86,465.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why the Rivian R1T Will Be The Benchmark for All Electric Trucks
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How much will the Rivian truck cost?

The Rivian R1T starts at $67,500 for the Explore Package and $73,000 for the Adventure Package.

How long is the wait for Rivian?

The Rivian R1T’s waiting period is quite long, just like any new EV today. While media vehicles have started coming out, the deliveries are expected to begin in March 2022. Some owners even got messages of deliveries beginning in September 2022. However, we won’t hold our breath on this.

Is Rivian owned by Ford?

Ford had invested $500 million in Rivian back in 2019. Rivian was also going to build an EV for FoMoCo that would be sold as a Lincoln-branded vehicle. That has been called off, but Ford is still invested in the company. It owns a 12-percent stake that’s valued at over $10 billion currently.

When can I buy Rivian truck?

You can book a Rivian R1T today by paying a refundable deposit of $1,000. The configurator has gone live on the company’s official website and the truck’s pricing is also revealed. Deliveries, however, are get postponed and you may end up getting your Rivian at the end of the year.

Can I invest in Rivian?

Yes, you can invest in Rivian. On November 10, 2021, Rivian went public under the ticker “RIVN” at an initial public offering of $78. The company managed to raise $12 billion, making it one of the hottest IPOs in recent years. Its partnership with Amazon served as a testament to the company’s growth.

How many Rivian trucks have been pre-ordered?

Up until December 15, 2021, around 71,000 Rivian R1Ts had been pre-ordered.

Are Rivian trucks being delivered?

Up until December 15, 2021, 386 Rivian R1Ts had been delivered.

When can I get my Rivian?

Although some Rivian vehicles had been delivered, some customers have been told the vehicles will be delivered in 2023. However, some reports also suggest that deliveries will begin in March 2022.

When can I expect my Rivian R1S?

Although promised in 2021, the deliveries for the Rivian R1S are expected to begin in summer or autumn 2022.

How long is the wait for a Rivian?

The waiting period stretches to over one year, with some people expected to get their deliveries in 2023.

When can you buy a Rivian SUV?

The deliveries were expected to begin in 2022, then got pushed to January 2022, but now, they are expected to begin in the summer of 2022.

Is the Rivian truck available?

Yes, the Rivian truck is available for purchase. Currently, you can book your Rivian truck by paying a refundable deposit of $1,000. The configurator has gone live on Rivian’s official website, thus giving you a detailed idea of what accessories will be available and how much the R1T will cost you.

How many Rivian trucks did Amazon buy?

Amazon placed an order for 100,000 Rivian electric vans in 2019, thus giving the company strong credibility.

Does Ford own part of Rivian?

Back in 2019, Ford invested $500 million in Rivian and announced a joint vehicle partnership that would sell under the Lincoln brand. Although that got scrapped, Ford still owns 12-percent stake in the company. After the IPO in November, Ford’s stake was valued at over $10 billion.

Are Ford and Rivian working together?

After Ford invested $500 million in Rivian, both the companies announced a joint vehicle partnership that would sell with a Lincoln badge. This, however, didn’t materialize as both companies mutually agreed to step back about it. But, Ford still owns a stake in Rivian.

Why did Ford pull out of Rivian?

Rivian issued a statement about its breakup with Ford soon after they separated. It said. “As Ford has scaled its own EV strategy and demand for Rivian vehicles has grown, we’ve mutually decided to focus on our own projects and deliveries,”. Ford, however, continues to own a stake in the company that was valued at over $10 billion after the IPO.

Who is Rivian owned by?

There are a lot of companies that have invested in Rivian, but Amazon is the majority stakeholder with 20-percent ownership of the company.

Why Rivian?

There are tens of electric car manufacturers, but none have shown the potential like Rivian. You do have Lucid, but they will most likely go with passenger cars and not pickup trucks and mighty SUVs. In that sense, Rivian is unmatched. Both, the R1T and the R1S, are fantastic packages. The company also has an order of 100,000 delivery vans from Amazon. All these things point at a bright future for Rivian, and it could very well become as big as Tesla few years down the line.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV 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. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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