Industry News: The Rivian R1T Will Probably Be The First Fully Electric American Pickup

As a lead up to the L.A. Auto Show, Rivian Automotive officially announced the R1T, a fully electric pickup truck set to debut some time in 2020. While traditional pickup truck manufacturers dabble with partial electric power, the Rivian is being developed without the need for gasoline. Can Rivian do for pickup trucks what Tesla has done for sedans? Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

As of today’s writing, Rivian Automotive does not have a production-ready model to show the public. Instead, they debuted a near-production example that will probably be nearly identical to the real thing. Full-width LED front and rear lights aside, this thing looks good to go.

Overall, the truck looks tough and rugged but also somewhat upscale, which is important when one considers the vehicles it will go up against.

And make no mistake: this future truck, and the soon-to-be-announced SUV sibling to the R1T, are unquestionably luxury vehicles. Rivian isn’t shying away from that fact either: the starting price for the pickup is $61,500 after the $7,500 federal tax credit is applied. To put things into perspective, Car and Driver tested a 2018 Ford F-150 Platinum with the 5.0 liter V8 and other options back in February, and the MSRP on that test vehicle was $61,745. Obviously incentives bring that number down quite a bit, but it is not outside the realm of possibility that consumers will pay extra for a truck that never has to visit the local Mobil station.

Make/ModelLength (inches)Width (inches)Height (inches)Wheelbase (inches)
Ford F-150 Supercrew231.979.977.2145
Rivian R1T215.579.371.4135.8


In terms of sizing, the Rivian is a bit smaller than a modern full size pickup, but somewhat larger than the mid size entries.

The big question that everyone will want answered pertains to the battery range of the truck when it’s fully loaded. No figure is available yet, but Rivian claims the R1T will be able to tow up to 11,000 pounds. If they want the pickup to boast competitive payload numbers, they’ll likely need to make the bed capable of hauling about 2,000 pounds. The truck will also have full 4X4 capability from four 147 kW motor units near each wheel. (Update: electrek posted the full specs of the R1T, and it will have a payload capacity of just over 1,700 pounds)

Rivian did disclose basic range estimates, and they’re good: 400 miles with the top tier 180 kWh pack. The mid range 135 kWh pack will allow the truck a range of 300 miles while the entry level 105 kWh unit, which will not be available at launch, comes in at 230. DC fast charging will allow the Rivian to regain 200 miles in battery capacity in thirty minutes.

It’s fully electric origins enable the truck to locate everything related to propulsion below the top height of the wheels, a configuration now being called the “skateboard” setup. That means more storage options when compared against a conventional truck. If you’ve always wanted a truck with a trunk, Rivian has got you covered.

The R1T will also have this nifty cutout behind the cabin. It looks fully capable of swallowing up some golf clubs or smaller pieces of lumber.

There will also be some storage available in the bed, although it looks like the company wants that space to be a dedicated spare tire compartment.

And the Rivian will also come with an integrated tonneau cover that is watertight.

Another cool exterior feature is the full width lights, some of which switch over to green while the truck is charging.

Inside, the Rivian does its best Tesla impression. Certainly not a bad thing, as even the Model 3 boasts a cabin that is appropriately luxurious. The R1T also boasts two massive screens for infotainment and other necessary functions. Overall, it looks like it will be able to fully compete with its internal combustion counterparts when it comes to interior accoutrements.

Rivian’s offerings are slated to be produced just outside Normal Illinois, at the former Mitsubishi auto plant. The company is probably going to want the roads around the property renamed at some point in the future.

The R1T has the potential to be a true game changer in the pickup truck segment. And like Tesla, the company is an all-American venture. Stay tuned for more content related to Rivian, which looks like a company with a promising future.


Rivian Automotive’s electric pickup breaks cover” – Automotive News

Instrumented Test: Ford F-150 5.0L V8 Supercrew” – Car and Driver