Rivian has been making waves in not only the EV community, but the off-road community with the R1T and R1S. The electric truck and SUV are being marketed as “off-road adventure vehicles,” and they need the performance to back that tagline up. That’s why Rivian has done lots of extreme testing themselves, but has also asked others to validate its vehicle’s capability when the pavement ends. Recently, veteran automotive journalist Emme Hall and co-driver and navigator Rebecca Donaghe piloted a Rivian R1T during the Rebelle Rally, and the recap video below shows it was a valuable experience for all parties involved.
For those unfamiliar, the Rebelle Rally is a female-only off-road rally that isn’t about speed, but making it to checkpoints in the Nevada and California deserts with only maps. The rally lasts seven days, and drivers cover over 1,200 miles from start to finish. It’s a test of teamwork, problem solving and navigational planning for the drivers, and a test of extreme off-road driving for the vehicles.
This isn’t the first time Hall and Donaghe have completed the Rebelle Rally together, and they are actually one of two teams that have completed the rally each year since its inception in 2016. They’ve even won the thing, twice. The pair have also used some unexpected vehicles in the past, namely a Rolls Royce Cullinan in 2019. Even though the Rivian R1T is the first electric vehicle they’ve used, it’s probably more up to the task than the Rolls.
Perceptive readers may be wondering how an electric vehicle could possibly complete an seven day rally in the middle of a desert with no charging points, and that’s a very valid point. Rivian addressed this by sending what they call a “power innovation truck” to fast-charge the R1T when needed, usually overnight. Here, they could also pull data from the recent leg of the journey.
The whole exercise, while certainly a good PR campaign, also gave outside experts a chance to critique the Rivian R1T in an extreme off-road environment, and work out any bugs that emerge. It’s a great learning experience for Rivian, who can understand what needs improvement before the electric truck goes on sale this summer. Few customers will use their truck in this way, but if their company philosophy is to hold up, it needs to work. They even mentioned taking charge locations into account, and how they could put up fast charge units along adventure routes like this, backing up our previous reporting on this idea.
Overall, Rivian’s involvement in the Rebelle Rally is a great way to aid development of the R1T and R1S, and produce an inspiring story to fans. Check out the fantastic video below: