We all know electric vehicles are beginning to take over the automotive market. Whether you love or hate the idea of electric cars, they’re becoming a reality. The off-road part of the automotive market has yet to see electric vehicles become popular, mostly due to lack of good options. This makes it a prime market for a big change, and the off-road market is what Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer, is targeting. At the L.A. Auto Show they’ve just announced two new electric adventure vehicles coming to market, the Rivian R1T, an electric pickup, and the R1S, an electric SUV.
Both of these vehicles will be built upon Rivian’s “skateboard” platform. The skateboard platform packages a large battery pack, powertrain, suspension, braking, and cooling all below the height of the wheel. This means it’s a completely flat platform, which can effectively have any cab or body plopped onto it, making manufacturing simpler. When you combine the low center of gravity with advanced suspension geometry, active dampers, and adjustable air suspension, you end up with an off-road-oriented vehicle which handles superbly both on and off the road.
The big question with any electric vehicle is the range. Without good range or fast charging capability, your off-road adventures can turn sour very quickly. Luckily, Rivian thought of this ahead of time. There will be three battery configurations available for both vehicles, offering 230+, 300+, or 400+ miles of range. On top of that, the battery pack is designed for fast charging, enabling approximately 200 miles of range from 30 minutes of charging. Advanced algorithms learn your driving style and optimize battery management, improving range and reliability. This is all protected with tough underbody protection and a sophisticated cooling system.
“I started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have – to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation,”said Rivian Founder RJ Scaringe. “Starting with a clean sheet, we have spent years developing the technology to deliver the ideal vehicle for active customers. This means having great driving dynamics on any surface on- or off-road, providing cargo solutions to easily store any type of gear, and, very importantly, being capable of driving long distances on a single charge. From the inside out, Rivian has developed its vehicles with adventurers at the core of every design and engineering decision. The R1T and R1S are the result of all this work and we are excited to finally introduce these products to the world.”
The excellent platform and battery system don’t matter if it’s terrible off-road; after all, they are off-road-focused vehicles. To that end, both the R1T and R1S will use a quad motor AWD drivetrain, which will theoretically allow for torque vectoring and the possibility of simulating lockers. Water won’t be an issue either, with a wading depth of one meter. Up front is an unequal length double wishbone setup and in the rear is a multilink setup. Without the solid axle, ground clearance is very good at 14.3 inches.
Both vehicles will start over $60,000 after tax credits, with target delivery beginning in late 2020. The automotive market is very tough to get into, but if Rivian can get their vehicles to market, the off-road world may start to see the takeover of electric vehicles.