EV Feature Friday is a new, weekly column at Electrified. It’s a look at EV ownership from the owner’s point of view. This column will report some of each owner’s experiences on topics like charging and range to real-world reports on their EV’s performance and reliability. EV Feature Friday is open to any BEV, PHEV, or hybrid vehicle. In this EV Feature Friday we learn about Frank’s 2022 Rivian truck.
Frank’s 2022 Rivian Truck: Bought New, Not an Impulse Buy
Frank is a Data Analyst, and he resides in Cave Creek, Arizona. His Rivian R1T had 10 miles on the odometer when he bought it brand-new. At the time of this writing, he has owned the truck for about a year, and it has 14,329 miles on the ticker. Frank’s purchase of the Rivian truck was not an impulse buy. He had specific criteria for an EV, and this included the ability to hit the dusty trail. “I wanted an EV that could give me a sporty feel, with the ability to conquer most off-road trails. I was a close follower of Rivian before they even had a vehicle, and once they unveiled their product, I knew it was made for me,” he says.
Trail Modifications for Frank’s Rivian Truck
Since trail use is part of the R1T’s life, Frank made a few commonsense modifications designed to improve and protect his truck. Ditch lights, lights that illuminate areas not covered by the stock lighting, have been incorporated onto the truck. This ensures more complete visibility when off-roading at night. He also added rock sliders (not shown in all photos), which offer protection from rocker panel damage. Due to their location, rocker panels are susceptible to damage from large rocks and even protruding tree roots in some off-road situations.
Frank’s Charging Experiences
Frank says that he completes most of his Rivian’s charging at home using a Rivian charger. “The experience has been mostly good, with only needing to reset the device once due to technical issues. We do use a scheduled charging window from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. to take advantage of APS off-peak rates.” There are times when he has used public chargers and he says the experience has been OK, though some are a “crapshoot.” “I’ve run into lines, reduced charging capacities, and offline chargers, all which frustrate the EV experience.” There is one charging network that has impressed Frank. “Rivian’s Adventure Network, the three times I’ve been able to use it, has been flawless. Plug and play is a must in the EV charging world, and I can attest to that benefit from the Tesla side as well.”
Best Range and Longest Trip
The R1T’s best range so far is 250 miles, using 86 percent of the battery’s capacity. “I had charged to about 91 percent in Barstow, California, and circumstantially ended up charging in Quartzsite, Arizona, after the stop in Needles, California, was fruitless due to an Electrify America station that was operating at reduced speeds, and an entire team of GM engineers was charging their fleet.” “Longest trip was 1,250 miles, from Phoenix, Arizona, to Templeton, California, and back. One funny EV moment was when I was at an Electrify America station out west of Bakersfield, California, and I was three deep in the queue, waiting for a spot at one of three chargers. As I’m sitting in line, I keep seeing Teslas zipping in and out. I look in my rearview and see a large bank of Tesla chargers, and I think to myself ‘wish I had a Tesla right now.’”
Weather Extremes and How It Relates to EV Performance
Extreme temperatures can be a challenge for EVs. Phoenix is known for its brutally high temperatures, but Frank said his R1T has taken it in stride. “The Rivian has performed amazing, in my experience, throughout.” He does have one observation after 2023’s lengthy mega-heatwave. “The one frustration, this year, is that in my garage it gets very warm, especially when charging. Rivian pushed an update to the vehicle that throttles back charging throughput when the charging handle gets hot. As such, throughout the summer, my 11 kW max is more like 7 kW max charging.”
After a Year of EV Ownership, Frank Has Opinions About His R1T
What does Frank like the most about his R1T? “Versatility. The R1T can do truck things well, but it can do it like a sports car. Also, the power and torque is a thing of beauty when climbing switchbacks on Casner Mountain, for example. I love that I can take a 600-mile road trip and feel like it’s the most comfortable ride of any vehicle I’ve ever owned. AND THEN I can immediately take it into the dunes at Pismo Beach and fall in love with how capable it is off pavement. Also, the amount of storage is ridonculous.” But there are things he thinks could be improved. “Limited feature set (currently) for a vehicle branded as an ‘adventure vehicle.’ I’d love if Rivian either had GAIA integration natively, or Android Auto, so I could use GAIA on-screen, rather than needing to have a secondary device in the cabin.”
Best Part of Owning an EV and Other Opinions
What’s the best part of owning an EV? Frank says, “No more trips to the gas station for regular fill ups. Being able to charge at home is a game changer in the world of personal vehicles.” And when we asked Frank which EV he would like to take home, he chose the Rivian R1T. “I’d 100 percent buy another R1T. I’ve loved pretty much everything about it since I got it in August 2022. The power, the design, versatility, ride quality, build quality (interior and exterior), and overall capability.” But which EV would Frank want if money were no object? “Rivian R1T, for all the reasons I previously mentioned. I own my dream EV.”
Electrified’s EV Feature Friday is open to any BEV, PHEV, or hybrid street-legal production vehicle. It’s an opportunity to read about electrified vehicle ownership directly from the vehicle owner. If you’re an electrified vehicle owner, you can submit your vehicle information and your EV experiences by completing this online form and providing photos. Thank you!