Rivian R1T electric ute concept was revealed at the 2018 LA motor show.
Rivian R1T electric ute concept was revealed at the 2018 LA motor show.

New American electric dual cab ute to shock Tesla

NEW electric car upstart Rivian is preparing to shock Tesla. The American electric vehicle start-up has revealed the R1T all-electric dual-cab ute concept.

Rivian has ambitious plans to start production of the futuristic-looking workhorse by late 2020.

Tesla has been hyping an electric pick-up truck for several years but no concrete details have yet to be released, leaving Rivian to venture unrivalled into the segment.

Initially the R1T will be launched with two variants with 135kWh or 180kWh battery packs.

Rivian claims the R1T will have serious off-road potential.
Rivian claims the R1T will have serious off-road potential.

The higher capacity battery has a theoretical range of more than 640km while the smaller pack is claimed to travel to about 500km.

A year after launch the pair will be joined by a base model sporting a 105kWh battery with a range of about 370km.

All three are all-wheel drive - electric motors power each wheel, with torque vectoring to ensure maximum grip for all wheels.

Power figures vary with specification: the base version produces 300kW/560Nm, the mid-spec makes 563kW/1120Nm and the top-spec prioritises range over power, making 522kW/1120Nm.

An 800kg payload and towing capacity of up to 5000kg give the R1T the muscle to back up its claims. It can also handle some of the rough stuff with a wading depth of up to a metre.

The R1T can tow up to 5000kg.
The R1T can tow up to 5000kg.

Rivian head of engineering and programs Mark Vinnel says: "The beauty and elegance of our quad-motor set-up isn't just about brute power. This architecture provides instantaneous torque with extremely precise control at each wheel, which is completely game-changing from a dynamics perspective, both on and off-road."

The Rivian will have a front boot, as nearly all its vitals are underneath the floor.

The R1T can take on an 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes when connected to a DC fast-charger.

Rivian R1T concept has a premium interior.
Rivian R1T concept has a premium interior.

Rivian also promises semi-autonomous driving capabilities that would enable hands-off highway driving.

Rivian boss RJ Scaringe says the company has "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."

Rivian also introduced an electric SUV at the this week's Los Angeles motor show.

There is no certainty that Rivian will bring its cars to market - several EV start-ups have gone bust after revealing much-hyped concept cars.

Tesla, the only start-up to produce vehicles in significant numbers, has experienced many well publicised difficulties trying to scale up production and has yet to turn an annual profit in the 15 years since its formation.



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