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We’re Getting Close

Rivian R1T

`2021 is looking like the year of electric pickup trucks. The lead entries are the GMC Hummer EV, Rivian R1T and Tesla Cybertruck. They’re coming from three very different automakers, with the Hummer emerging from one of the most established names in the industry, the Cybertruck coming from a now-successful but still young automaker and the R1T and R1S being the first models from all-new Rivian. By that logic, Rivian has the most to prove, and they are getting their fans and customers excited for the R1T and R1S with an all new hype video on their Twitter.

The video mainly highlights the development and prototype testing of the R1T pickup, and shows Rivian’s Normal, Illinois production facility ramping up. Our favorite part has got to be the off-road testing, and the R1T looks right at home when the going gets rough. The truck looks like it’s happy to slide around, but can also rock crawl with ease. That’s a good sign for off-road fans, as it should be capable on the technical stuff and fun on loose, faster terrain.

Rivian hasn’t been afraid to show the R1S and R1T off-road, as their vehicles have completed the Rebelle Rally and driven from Patagonia to LA, just to name a few. It’s also cool to get a peek in the production facility, which looks suitably clean and minimal for an EV. We also see some vehicles getting wraps, which have been fun patterns on their development prototypes. There’s a chance Rivian may offer these from the factory.

As Rivian gets closer to production, they are still working out which feature will make it to the final version. This week, we learned they would be adding active bending headlights to give greater visibility when cornering. But we also uncovered that the power folding tailgate would no longer be available on the R1T. Both of these were found and announced by Rivian Forums members, where some future customers have been getting annoyed that they are finding out about these added or subtracted features from a forum, rather than Rivian directly. Customer communication seems to be something the company needs to improve upon, in the eyes of some preorder holders at least.

Electric pickup truck SUV

These are all things a new company has to work out, but we do see a successful future for the California-based company, which started in Michigan. Rivian recently acquired $2.65 billion in new funding and investments, and is on track for a massive IPO valuation this year.

Rivian also has a huge investment from Amazon, which they will use to produce an all-electric delivery vehicle for the delivery and online shopping giant. The contract will see 100,000 vans built by 2030.

The Rivian R1T Launch Edition will arrive first this June, followed by the R1S Launch Edition in August. Less expensive models will come later in 2022. We are excited to see what the new American brand can do in the upcoming and highly anticipated electric off-road and pickup truck segment.

Importantly, the Rivian R1T and R1S will beat the GMC Hummer EV pickup truck and SUV to market, as well as the Tesla Cybertruck.

A Rivian IPO could be worth as much as $50 billion when it launches sometime this year.

Written by Sam Krahn

Sam graduated with a communications Degree from Wayne State University, where he was also a member of the swim team. He's interested to see how new technology will affect the American performance vehicle landscape.

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