Rivian R1T electric pickup boasts 400-mile range, supercar-baiting acceleration

When startups plan a new electric car, they tend to follow Tesla’s lead with a luxury model. But Rivian is taking electric vehicles in a more rugged direction. At the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, Rivian is launching the R1T, an all-electric pickup truck with up to 400 miles of range, and the ability to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds. The R1T will soon be joined by an SUV called the R1S.

The claimed 400-mile range is achieved with a massive 180-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Rivian will also offer 105-kWh and 135-kWh battery-pack options, with 230 miles and 300 miles of range, respectively. You’ll need the lighter 135-kWh battery pack to have the quickest R1T, as Rivian claims this version will do zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds flat. The longer-range 180-kWh model takes 3.2 seconds, according to Rivian, while the 105-kWh version requires 4.9 seconds to reach 60 mph.

Each battery pack comes with a different power output: the top 180-kWh model has a claimed 700 horsepower and 826 pound-feet of torque, the 135-kWh version is rated at 745 hp and 826 lb-ft, and the 105-kWh variant is rated at 402 hp and 413 lb-ft. All versions are limited to 125 mph, and Rivian claims maximum towing capacity of 11,000 pounds. Eventually, Rivian plans to offer “Level 3” autonomous-driving capability, meaning the truck will be able to steer, accelerate, and brake autonomously in certain situations during highway driving.

Similar in size to midsize pickup trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado or Toyota Tacoma, the R1T is built on what Rivian calls a “skateboard” chassis. General Motors coined that term for its early 2000s hydrogen fuel-cell concept cars, and the idea is basically the same here. All mechanical components are housed in the chassis, which then has different bodies placed on top to make different vehicles (Rivian is only discussing the R1T pickup and R1S SUV for now).

The R1T is powered by an electric motor at each wheel, giving it all-wheel drive. Going electric allows more precise control of torque output, Rivian noted, enhancing performance both on-road and off-road. The R1T also features adjustable air suspension that can jack the truck up to clear off-road obstacles, and Rivian claims it can drive through up to 1 meter (3.2 feet) of water.

The truck’s “skateboard” chassis freed up plenty of storage space. In addition to the bed, The R1T features a front trunk and a storage compartment where the transmission tunnel would be in an internal-combustion truck. Rivian also designed the R1T to act as a mobile power source: you can draw electricity from a 110-volt outlet (as well as numerous USB and USB Type-C ports) as well as air from the suspension system to run compressed-air equipment.

Pricing will start at $69,000, or $61,500 once the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles is applied. Rivian plans to begin deliveries in late 2020, starting with the 180-kWh and 135-kWh models. The 105-kWh version will follow “within 12 months” of the start of production, according to Rivian. The company is accepting $1,000 refundable deposits, and has secured a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, to build the truck. But like many startups, Rivian may find that building cars in large volumes is more difficult than it seems.

Product Review

Want an electric car that doesn't look like an electric car? Meet Audi's E-Tron

The 2019 Audi E-Tron is the German automaker’s first series-production electric car. Rather than make a bold statement with its first electric vehicle, Audi chose to make the E-Tron as much like its other cars as possible.
Cars

Honda recalls 119,000 2019 CR-V crossovers over fears of airbag deployment

A manufacturing defect in select 2019 Honda CR-V crossovers could cause the airbag to malfunction and unexpectedly deploy, leading the automaker to recall some 137,000 vehicles worldwide, 118,598 of them in the U.S.
Cars

Alexa and Google Home-compatible JuicePlan simplifies EV charging at home

JuicePlan, eMotorWerks' new residential electric vehicle level 2 charging service subscription plan that simplifies EV home charger selection and installation, is now available in parts of California, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.
Cars

Mercedes-Benz safety-car concept monitors the road ahead and your kids

The Mercedes-Benz Experimental Safety Vehicle 2019 was designed for a world where humans and machines share driving duties. It can use lights to communicate with other road users and even monitor an infant's vital signs.
Cars

Texas awaits one signature to put a statewide stop to red light cameras

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs state House Bill 1631 into law, he will bring a halt to red light cameras in the state. The central issue in the bill's passage is the presumption of guilt of the registered owner of the car.
Cars

EV owners may still need to stop at a Chevron station, but not to buy gasoline

EVgo, the operator of a sizable network of electric car charging stations, has partnered with Chevron. Five Chevron stations located in California will install EVgo chargers that electric car owners can pay to use.
Cars

Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV tries to balance power and efficiency with mild-hybrid V8

The redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLE will get a V8 mild-hybrid powertrain when it launches in the United States later in 2019. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 makes 483 hp on its own, but can also get a 21 hp electric boost.
Cars

Audi TT will get the ax to make way for electric cars — and the R8 may be next

Once a design leader, the Audi TT will meet its demise to make room in Audi's lineup for more electric cars. Audi executives confirmed plans to kill off the TT at the automaker's annual shareholder meeting.
Cars

Cadillac confirms V-Series performance versions of the CT5 and CT4

Cadillac will unveil CT5-V and CT4-V sports sedans in Detroit May 30. They will be the latest cars in the General Motors luxury brand's V-Series performance line, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
Cars

Watch Cruise Automation’s driverless car perform one of the trickiest maneuvers

Unprotected left turns in urban environments are one of the trickiest maneuvers a driver has to perform — and the same goes for self-driving cars. Autonomous-vehicle company Cruise Automation appears close to nailing it.
Mobile

Lyft’s wallet-friendly Shared Saver option arrives in six more U.S. cities

Lyft is expanding its wallet-friendly Shared Saver option to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle after launching it earlier this year in Denver, New York City, and San Jose.
Cars

Leaf electric-car batteries can outlast vehicles by up to 12 years, Nissan claims

Nissan Leaf batteries have roughly twice the lifes pan of the cars they're installed in, according to an executive from the automaker. Nissan is investigating alternative uses for those batteries.
Cars

You can operate this BMW on a busy sidewalk without getting arrested

Forget driving: BMW released the ultimate riding machine. The German company teamed up with Switzerland's Micro to design a trio of scooters designed for last-mile mobility in crowded city centers.
Cars

Tesla to cap charging at busy Supercharging stations at 80%

Tesla will be updating some of its supercharger stations to impose limits on how much a car can be charged in a single period. The new limits will allow users to only charge up to 80% at busy stations.