Two years from now, the electric-vehicle startup Rivian hopes to be making its R1T electric pickup truck at a former Mitsubishi (and Chrysler) plant in Normal, Illinois.
If everything goes according to plan, shortly after that, in early 2021, it will start to deliver its other so-called electric adventure vehicle: the R1S all-electric seven-passenger SUV.
With the R1S, which Rivian has just previewed at the Los Angeles auto show, much is carried over from its also-hypothetical R1T—including the three model levels attached to 105-kwh, 135-kwh, and 180-kwh battery packs, with four motors, rated up to 174 hp depending on the version. And from them should come the same exceptional 820 pound-feet of torque—and acceleration times of less than 7.0 seconds to 100 mph for the quickest version and a top speed of 125 mph for all.
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Rivian anticipates 10 more miles of range over the pickup—so 410 miles or more from the top 180-kwh version. It even pegs the base 105-kwh, which it says will be available six months after launch, as providing 240 miles of range or more. And the CCS DC fast charging is at a rate that should fit these huge battery packs; with DC fast charging at 160 kw, it can gain 200 miles in 30 minutes.
Although the R1S has essentially the same height and width as the R1T, it rides on a shorter-wheelbase (121.1-inch) and has a 198.4-inch total length—about exactly the length of the Ford Explorer.
The R1S would have the same 14.4 inches of ground clearance and water fording depth of 29.4 inches. Adaptive dampers and an adjustable air suspension should help it ride comfortably in a range of environments.
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Rivian projects that it’ll weigh about 44 pounds less than the pickup—5830 pounds for its curb weight. Max towing is 7,700, as opposed for 11,000 for the pickup.
The cabin appears to be a space that would configure well for family duty and possibly fit right in with Honda Pilots, Ford Explorers, and Subaru Ascents. There are two bucket seats in front, a three-place contoured bench seat in the second row, and a smaller two-place bench in the third row. As with many third-row vehicles, its position looks elevated and might not be comfortable for adults—but it definitely looks better than the makeshift third-row positions in a Tesla Model X. We’ll have to assume seat folding is per the SUV norm, and Rivian confirms there will be a ‘frunk.’
The dash is a more conventional alternative to Tesla, but brings more to the touch screen, apparently, than most other current vehicles. The dash layout has a warm, wood-trimmed look, with a very large, horizontally oriented tablet interface, and what looks to be a colorful, reconfigurable dash cluster divided into three viewing segments.
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Rivian intends to launch the R1S (and the R1T) with Level 3 autonomous-driving hardware—meaning that a hardware suite, including lidar and radar, will provide hands-off, eyes-off driving in highway situations.
Beyond Level 3, the company makes a statement that could be interpreted in many ways, that “the vehicle will have a range of self-driving features focused on enabling active lifestyles.” It’s a statement that could be interpreted in many ways.
Rivian hasn’t gone into any depth about how it plans to sell or service vehicles, although it has said that it’s aiming for control over the whole experience. Subscription services could be a part of that, but it’s already accepting $1,000 refundable deposits and cited prices ranging from about $69,000 for the base version of its R1T up to about $90,000 for the top R1T. Expect the R1S to cost a little bit more.