The Rivian is Riveting

A Rivian R1T in front of snow covered mountains.

Described by Top Gear as “the truck market’s game-changer” the Rivian is long overdue and a welcome addition to the electric vehicle market. Rivian has teased about producing an off-road electric truck for a number of years, and now it has arrived.

The Rivian is as American as apple pie and the star spangled banner. It is a big, big machine that is built for big roads. There is also the off-roading capabilities that we will get to in due course. The Rivian may be built in Normal, Illinois. However, it is anything but normal.

A Bit of History – The Early Days

Rivian started life in 2009 as Mainstream Motors with its base in Irvine, California. After a couple of name changes, the name Rivian was settled upon in 2011. From the very beginning, Rivian was focused on delivering autonomous and electric vehicles. Where the company was going with this initial plan was a little less certain.

In the early days, Rivian was looking at developing a sports car. A hybrid coupé to be precise. However, this idea was shelved as the company decided to set its sights even higher. Rivian wanted to make a big impact in the automotive industry.

Things Start Moving Forward

Having received a substantial investment in 2015, Rivian grew very quickly, expanding the business to various parts of North America. In 2017 the company finally acquired and started to build its main manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois.

Rivian announced in 2017 that they would be producing their first two products. A pick up truck and an SUV. Prototypes of these electric vehicles were unveiled at the LA Auto Show in November 2018. 

Although production was due to start in 2020 and the company’s workforce grew rapidly. Unfortunately, due to the microchip shortage and the global pandemic, production was pushed back to 2022. Ford, having become a major shareholder in 2021, would now be a major force helping Rivian realise their dream.

Rivian Revealed

The two production electric vehicles put out by Rivian were unveiled as the R1T and the R1S. These were the pick up truck and the SUV respectively.

Both models have been hotly anticipated by electric vehicle enthusiasts for a long time. Would the final product match up to the great expectations that have been heaped upon them? Well, let’s see.

Rivian at night

The Rivian R1T

The first model I will talk about is the R1T. This is the pickup truck version of the Rivian and is probably the most highly anticipated electric vehicle for many years. A lot was promised of the vehicle, so has it lived up to it?

Firstly, the body is not only big, but incredibly beautiful. There are lovely rounded edges all over the truck which is a contrast to the very sharp features you usually find on a pickup truck.

The Rivian is also unashamedly showing off its electric vehicle credentials with some stunning lighting bars on both the front and back. If they wanted to put out a futuristic design, they have absolutely nailed the brief. It is simply unlike any other vehicle in its class in the world.

Other Worldly Performance

Rivian has proven that you can have a very large and heavy vehicle without compromising on the performance. The stats that have come out about the 180kWh battery launch version are absolutely monstrous.

The WLTP quoted range is 401 miles, there is a top speed of 124mph and you can do 0-60mph in just 3.2 seconds! Absolutely crazy!!!

The Rivian is the perfect off road vehicle. There is a high flat floor with nothing to get snagged, and the torque is an incredible 826 lb-ft coming from 700hp of the motors. I for one cannot wait to see this truck come to the UK.

The Rivian R1S

If an SUV is more your cup of tea, then Rivian has come up with the R1S. This looks a bit like a Land Rover but with much smoother edges, as with the R1T. Again, you have the incredible futuristic style bar lighting on the front and back. The space in the boot has to be seen to be believed. When I say it is big, I mean it is BIG!

As with the pickup truck, you get the high floor of the car which makes it great for off road driving. The performance statistics of the R1S are even more impressive than the R1T! The range, according to the WLTP ratings is 410 miles with the 180kWh battery. As with the R1T you get a top speed of 124mph, yet you can reach 0-60 in just 3 seconds!!!

How these geniuses managed to get such an unbelievable performance out of such a big and heavy car is beyond my level of expertise. However, this really is something to marvel at. If Rivian can pull those sorts of numbers then other manufacturers will be able to follow suit. I cannot wait to see what they come up with next.

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