Rivian's R1T Is First Electric Truck to Go Into Production

The startup is ready to sell in all 50 states.

Rivian R1T


Ford, Tesla, and General Motors all announced plans to introduce electric pickup trucks, but now one automaker has actually done it: Electric vehicle startup Rivian has officially beat its rivals by being the first to start production of an electric pickup.

Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe recently tweeted that the first Rivian R1T pickup has driven off its production line in Normal, Illinois. “After months of building pre-production vehicles, this morning our first customer vehicle drove off our production line in Normal!  Our team’s collective efforts have made this moment possible,” Scaringe stated. “Can’t wait to get these into the hands of our customers!”

The EV startup received certifications from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Air Resources Board. These three certifications allow Rivian to sell the R1T to consumers in all 50 U.S. states.

Trucks are the most popular vehicle type in the U.S., which means the arrival of electric pickup trucks could have a significant impact on the zero-emissions goals for automakers. Though, some experts make the case that just making trucks electric doesn't make them good.

The consumer market is waiting for Tesla to introduce its Cybertruck, which has been delayed until 2022, and Ford’s new F-150 Lightning isn’t slated to arrive until next year. This fall, the R1T will get its first competition from the GMC Hummer EV pickup. Chevrolet and Ram also announced plans for electric trucks, but they are a few years away.

Rivian has delayed production of the R1T several times, so it’s not certain yet how many trucks are driving off its production line a day. The good news is that Rivian is backed by other companies, including its rival, Ford, so the company does have enough money coming in to be able to build the R1T and the R1S SUV later this year.

The first version of the Rivian R1T to arrive will be the Launch Edition, which is priced at $75,000. The Launch Edition is powered by a quad-motor system and a 135-kilowatt-hour battery pack that gives the R1T an EPA-estimated driving range of 314 miles. That places it between the F-150 Lightning and GMC Hummer EV since the Ford has a range up to 300 miles and the Hummer EV has a range of around 350 miles.

A longer-range R1T with a 180-kilowatt-hour battery is slated to arrive early next year with a driving range of over 400 miles. In January 2022, Rivian will also add two additional trim levels to the R1T: Adventure and Explore. A cheaper R1T is also planned with a 150-kilowatt-hour battery, which will have a range of around 250 miles. The R1T is designed for fast charging with charging rates of up to 160 kilowatts. This means that about 200 miles of range can be added in only 30 minutes.

To help with range anxiety, Rivian is also working on its own EV charging network, called the Rivian Adventure Network. The network will include more than 3,500 DC fast chargers at 600 sites across the U.S.

In addition to the R1T and R1S, Rivian is also planning on adding four more electric vehicles to its lineup by 2025. Plus it’s also working on an electric delivery van for Amazon, which will also be built at its Normal plant.

“The scale of the challenge is enormous, but we’re lucky to be a part of this - to be able to help solve how we shift our planet’s energy and transportation systems entirely away from fossil fuel,” said the company.