Rivian’s R1T is all-electric, can go 400 miles, and reaches 60 mph in 3 seconds

The Michigan-based startup aims to be the Tesla of pickup trucks.

The 2020 Rivian R1T looks half pickup, half friendly robot, but it’s all-electric.
The 2020 Rivian R1T looks half pickup, half friendly robot, but it’s all-electric. –Rivian

You may not have heard of Rivian yet, but the Michigan-based startup aims to be the Tesla of pickup trucks. At a quick glance, it’s new R1T all-electric pickup truck has a lot of the right stuff.

Rivian debuted the groundbreaking truck at the 2018 LA Auto Show today, and at least on paper, it could offer enough to woo traditional truck buyers with just numbers alone. The company claims a 400-plus mile range from a massive 180 kWh battery pack, as well as a 0-60 miles-per-hour time of just three seconds thanks to massive amounts of torque from its electric motor. Further, the R1T should be able to charge to 80 percent capacity in 50 minutes on a level 2 DC fast charger. Oh, and it’s got a towing capacity of 11,000 pounds.

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Those are impressive numbers for both electric vehicles and midsize pickup trucks alone, and they’re going to have to be, because the R1T looks like the lovechild of a Tron movie and the panda-like Google Car from a few years back. The full-width light bar is cool, but is broken up by the strange, upright headlights that give it a friendly robot face, not quite in line with the butch looks of the rest of the design.

Inside, the R1T clearly borrows a few cues from Tesla with its massive twin screens, although the dashboard has a square, traditional pickup look with a big center console for plenty of storage. It’s a pretty cohesive design for a first effort from an EV startup, and though many truck buyers prefer buttons for their ability to be used with work gloves, it’s sure to win over less commercially-minded customers.

Speaking of storage, the R1T makes excellent use of the real estate opened up by its electric powertrain, including a sizeable “frunk,” a neat pass-through in front of the rear axle, and a spare tire under the bed because batteries take up too much space underneath the frame. The doors for the passthrough can even be used to sit on and tie your boots, if you need.

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Rivian also claims that the R1T will be able to handle itself off-road, able to send the nearly 800 total horsepower to any wheel in any capacity, and with water fording ability of up to a meter thanks to its lack of air intakes.

The R1T is expected to reach the market in 2020, with a base price of nearly $70,000 before the available $7,500 tax credit. The base model will have a 105-kWh battery pack and nearly 230 miles of range, while a 135-kWh, 300-mile version will also be available alongside the top-tier 180 kWh model, which will be priced around $90,000. There will also be a less expensive long-range version without all the bells and whistles for buyers concerned about range anxiety. That’s pretty steep for a pickup, but what other pickup runs on batteries alone? For now, it’s just the R1T.