We’re about to find out how the lifted Rivian R1T performs
In 2019, there was a lot of excitement around the Tesla Cybertruck. Although I was personally shocked by the design decision, it looked like it would be the first electric pickup truck, which is pretty cool. But now, nearly four years later, Tesla still hasn’t achieved anything. They’re getting close, and have “release candidate” trucks being road tested, but it’s turning out to be difficult to build a truck the way Elon Musk wanted.
Therefore, other manufacturers, who took a more traditional approach to manufacturing, ended up delivering first. It started with the Rivian R1T, and then the F-150 Lightning. The Cybertruck may end up being produced quickly enough to overtake Rivian, Ford, and other manufacturers, but the top spot still belongs to Rivian.
While the R1T is fully electric, which makes it more environmentally friendly and reduces carbon emissions, it’s still very natural. It has a traditional four-door truck design, with a plain hood, no sail panels, and a body that looks more like regular body-on-frame trucks (as opposed to an exterior design like the Cybertruck). The interior is also pretty standard, with a regular steering wheel, paddle shifters, and even some buttons.
In terms of performance, the R1T is really impressive, even compared to faster gas-powered trucks. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3 seconds, showcasing its power and agility. Additionally, it offers high towing capacity and exceptional off-road capabilities, making it a versatile choice for various users with diverse needs and preferences.
But one area where the R1T and other electric trucks fall short is in range and charging. Thanks to its large battery pack, the R1T can travel over 300 miles on a single charge. This makes it a viable option for long trips without worrying about range anxiety or needing frequent charging stops, but towing large loads results in long charging stops and lots of places you can’t get to.
Despite this significant disadvantage compared to gas-powered trucks, the Rivian R1T has received positive reviews from critics and customers alike. It has been praised for its overall performance, build quality and innovative features. This positive reception confirms the R1T’s position as a leading truck in the electric vehicle market, and paves the way for other electric trucks (including the long-awaited Cybertruck) to flourish in the market.
Not many people have modified a Rivian R1T yet. For almost any gas-powered pickup truck, there are many pre-built parts available to do just about anything. Some people drop their trucks almost to the curb. Others raise their trucks to ridiculous heights and put giant tires on them, which makes for interesting, but somewhat limited, aesthetic off-road performance, especially on trails that wouldn’t suit such a truck.
Depending on what you want to do off-road, there are some sweet spots between stock and such extremes. A reasonable lift of just a few inches, tires between 33-40 inches, and some underbody protection from dents and dings won’t result in a truck that looks like something you’d see in the stands on a Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! But it can give you excellent off-road performance in most normal trail conditions, as well as some light rock crawling.
Although we haven’t seen a ridiculous Rivian monster truck yet, a company known for its overland trucks has recently built regular off-roaders. With a decent lift, approximately 38-inch tires, and fabricated underbody protection for the vehicle’s drive units (which appear to have been lowered to prevent destruction of the CV joints), the off-road capability and aggressive appearance of the truck are greatly enhanced.
Although this video puts up some bad numbers and has very poor audio, it gives us a good look at the truck:
One thing everyone is probably wondering (at least in the off-road community) is how the truck will perform with those longer tires. For those unfamiliar, tires are the final gear in a vehicle’s drivetrain, and the ratio of the overall engine/engine speed to the tire’s rpm is changed when the tire size is changed. With longer tires comes a higher overall gear ratio, and therefore lower torque multiplication.
For gas and diesel trucks, the solution is usually to get into the differential and put down gears to compensate for the larger tires, but there are no gear-shifting kits inside the Rivian drive unit, at least not yet.
But, despite the taller tires, the truck held its own against the Dodge Ram TRX, a high-performance off-road truck known for its power and speed, so the Rivian engines still put plenty of torque to the wheels to make up for the wheels. It changes.
While Apocalypse, a company known for its all-wheel-drive overland trucks, hasn’t taken it off-road for video testing yet, it’s not finished with the truck. Like their other trucks, they plan to swap out and add to the body panels to give it a more brutal look. So, we probably won’t recognize the truck as a Rivian when it’s finished and we finally see some footage of it overcoming obstacles, but it will still have a Rivian heart at its core.
Why is this important?
Honestly, this truck probably won’t end up being what most people aim for in an off-road truck by the time they’re done with it. The Apocalypse’s “angry eyes, but makes the whole truck angry” look is appealing to some people, while many others want more clearance, grip and control to conquer the trails on the weekend.
However, it’s still an important small step in the electric truck story. It shows that there is a lot of interest in modifying and upgrading electric trucks to do what gas and diesel truck owners are already doing. This means not only a bright future for Rivian fans, but also a bright future for all other electric trucks, including the Cybertruck.
This, in turn, will boost the electric pickup market, leading to increased electric vehicle sales and reduced gas. So, even if you’re not a fan of off-roading or malls, this is something that will make you happy.
Featured Image: A screenshot of the embedded video.
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