You’ve seen electric vehicle startups launch with a splash and then sputter out, but Rivian seems like it’s steadily chugging along to actually selling people its electric truck and SUV. The company just released photos and video of the R1T pickup, a battery-electric truck roughly the size of a Toyota Tacoma, blasting around a proving ground in Arizona, ambling over some large rocks, and crawling up and down steep slopes.
It helps bolsters the R1T’s “real truck” credibility—this isn’t merely an electric car with a bed tacked on. The R1T’s all-terrain specs are impressive. To continue the Tacoma comparison, the R1T has standard air suspension that allows for better ground clearance (14.2 inches); better approach, departure, and breakover angles (34, 30, and 26 degrees, respectively); and a fording depth of—a remarkable—39.4 inches. It can also climb a 45-degree slope, thanks to a very low center of gravity that’s a happy benefit of its skateboard chassis. It’s body-on-frame, sure, but the “frame” is a flat layer of batteries and motors, with subframes at either end to handle the suspension.
And as we’ve previously told you, Rivian included off-road capability as a design goal from the start, with various off-road terrain drive modes built-in. Given the way that the R1T picks over rocks, or flicks through turns on hard-packed dirt roads, it seems like the truck has the chops to meet consumer expectations in the mid-size truck market. Its incredible (for its size) claimed tow rating of 11,000 pounds, or its respectable 1,760-pound payload won’t hurt things either. We expect the R1T to hit the market late this year as a 2021 model.