This actually looks like a lot of fun.
When the Rivian electric pickup truck was unveiled, I was quite negative, wondering why the world needed a 3-ton truck with a tiny bed splashing through the woods. “So this is the future we want: a whole bunch of giant heavy electricity sucking SUVs and pickups.”
Rivian has outfitted their R1T pickup for overlanding and it makes a very attractive, emissions-free package. The truck has an unusual “gear tunnel,” a lockable space between the bed and the passenger compartments, where the company plans “an ecosystem of add-ons.” The first is this slide-out kitchen with an electric range, running off the powerful batteries. Rivian claims that you can cook for a week and light your campsite using only 20 kWh or 11% of the battery pack. And if your campsite is at the top of a mountain you can get half your energy back through regenerative braking on the way home.
The Rivian is a bit much for a grocery run to the mall, but would come into its own in the woods, with 750 horsepower, the huge torque that comes from the four 200 HP motors, and the ability to tow 11,000 pounds. It’s got 14 inches of ground clearance and the sealed battery pack and drive units let it ford three feet of water. If there is an electric outlet out there in the wilderness, this truck can get to it.
Matt Burns of TechCrunch writes:
Rivian is positioning its products for a particular lifestyle. Think Patagonia-wearing, Range Rover-driving, outdoorsy types or at least those who aspire to have that image. It’s a smart play, and so far, Rivian has stayed true to this image. All of its advertisements, social media posts, and appearances make it clear that Rivian is carefully aligning its brand image.
It is indeed a smart play, considering that the trucks start around $65,000. But it would be a small price to pay if you could really go overlanding without being limited to their 400 mile range. They should bring out a Mark Watney Special Edition where the truck bed is filled with enough solar panels to fill those 180 kWh of batteries. One could overland the world on solar power.
More in the Rivian press release.