Rivian is a new American electric-car startup brand that is aiming to reinvent the segments its vehicles will enter. This sounds like a story that we have heard many times from many startups, but Rivian has avoided the usual vaporware criticism by hitting the ground running: no concept cars, no flashy teasers, just this first look at what it claims is the production-ready vehicle. Rivian's headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan, already has 600 employees, and the company bought and is revamping Mitsubishi's enormous Normal, Illinois, production facility. Rivian has chosen the Los Angeles auto show as the debut location for its first two production vehicles: the R1T pickup shown here and the R1S SUV.
The R1T is a futuristic looking crew-cab pickup that Rivian is claiming is the world's most aerodynamic truck.
Surfacing is subtle and minimal, with a main body line that wraps around the windows and is echoed in the door's cutlines.
At the back, there's a single, large LED strip and prominent badging.
The R1T's design could turn off pickup-truck die-hards, as it is, in a word, pretty cute.
The front end is dominated by two oval-shaped LED light housings and a unibrow-like central light bar (which turns green and "fills up" as the truck is charging), and there's no real grille to be found.
At 215.6 inches long and riding on a 135.8-inch wheelbase, it splits the difference between currently available mid-size and full-size crew-cab trucks.
Black bumpers and silver skid plates at the front and rear lend the R1T a rugged look.
A large central screen dominates the interior, with a slightly smaller screen used instead of traditional analog gauges.
Real wood is used throughout, and Rivian's designers have taken care to choose colors and materials inspired by the natural world, with the design scheme shown here featuring dark green leather and brown wood.
Speaking of truck capability, the R1T has many features not found on any other production truck. It's got a frunk—that is, a 12-cubic-foot trunk at the front of the truck where an engine usually would be. The hood is powered and locks.
No interior dimensions have been given, but the R1T's five-passenger cab appears more spacious than those of mid-size trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado and Ford Ranger.
Rivian claims that the R1T can get an 80 percent charge in just 15 minutes when using a DC fast charger and a full charge in eight hours using a Level 2 charger.
Behind the cab but ahead of the bed is what Rivian calls the gear tunnel: a lockable storage compartment, also 12 cubic feet, that extends from one side of the truck to the other, with the ability to hold golf clubs, strollers, or other objects.
Rivian—which claims "class leading" off-road chops for the R1T, says that this helps the truck off-road, especially its ability to climb at a 45-degree angle.
At launch, 135.0-kWh and a 180.0-kWh battery pack choices will be offered, with the base 105.0-kWh pack coming six months later.
According to Rivian, the 105.0-kWh model will have more than 230 miles of range, 402 horsepower, and 413 lb-ft of torque plus a zero-to-60-mph time of 4.9 seconds—that's quicker than the last Ford F-150 Raptor we tested.
Every version of the R1T will have a maximum payload of 1764 pounds, which almost matches the highest payload achievable by the new Ford Ranger.
The battery pack, electric motors, brakes, suspension, and advanced thermal-management system are all located below the height of the wheel, lending the R1T a super-low center of gravity.
The 135.0-kWh version is the speediest of the bunch; it's got 754 horses and 826 lb-ft, with Rivian saying it will hit 60 in just 3.0 seconds and 100 mph in less than 7.0 seconds. That model should have a range of more than 300 miles.
As in the Honda Ridgeline, there is a watertight, lockable compartment beneath the bed floor that can fit an additional seven cubic feet of stuff.