Rivian’s punishing the R1T off-road to ensure it’s capable of adventures

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As the Rivian R1T electric pickup truck inches toward production, the company released video showing torturous testing of a prototype.

It’s hard to think of an automaker development process that involves drifting on pavement, rock climbing, and high-speed runs through sand with the same vehicle, but that’s exactly what Rivian has put the R1T through.

Unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the R1T is about the size of current mid-size trucks, but with performance numbers that put sports cars to shame. Rivian previously quoted 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds. Off road, Rivian has said the R1T will be able to perform a “tank turn,” spinning 360 degrees in place.

Rivian R1T

Rivian R1T

Rivian previously quoted a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds and a 1,763-pound payload capacity. In addition to the bed, the R1T features a “frunk,” as well as a tunnel behind the cab that can house things like a compact camping kitchen.

The R1T (along with the related R1S SUV) rides on a “skateboard” chassis that houses all mechanical components, including the suspension, electric motors, and battery pack. With the largest available pack (a whopping 180 kilowatt-hours), the R1T will also have a range of 400 miles, according to Rivian.

Rivian planned to start production at a former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois, before the end of 2020, but the deadline has been pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. A deal to produce a Lincoln electric vehicle at the factory has been put on hold as well, although Lincoln parent Ford has indicated the two companies will collaborate on other projects in the future.

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