Source: Fully Charged/Youtube
Source: Fully Charged/Youtube

Rivian, the electric car startup that has gathered over two billion dollars in investment from the likes of US car giant Ford, online retail giant Amazon and auto remarketer Cox Automotive, will begin production of its electric R1T pickup (aka ute) and R1S SUV in late 2020.

Out of the many EV startups that have been touted as a “taking on Tesla”, the Michigan-based EV maker is one that has perhaps the likeliest chance of succeeding, at least in terms of producing vehicles that have a lasting effect on the market.

Rivian first wowed crowds at the LA Auto Show with its electric ute and SUV just on twelve months ago, and has since gone from strength to strength, from garnering the support of its investors to the tune of $US1.55 billion ($A2.27 billion) to taking its first order of  100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon.

Its electric R1T ute will start at $US69,000 ($A100,900 converted) and its electric R1s SUV at $US72,500 ($A106,000 converted), and both will offer more than 600km driving range and a 180kWh battery for the top of the range models, with three battery options in total.

If anyone wondered if the Amazon order would mean a delay for production of the R1S and R1T, wonder no longer: Rivian confirmed early this morning (Australian time) that production would start “as the end of 2020”.

And, first customers will start taking deliveries of their vehicles come 2021, depending on place in the pre-order queue and vehicle configuration.

Depending on your place in the preorder list, along with the vehicle specs you choose at configuration, delivery will follow. Many customers will receive their vehicles in 2021,” the EV maker posted.

Australians who are keen to get their hands on an R1T or R1S will have to wait longer: Although Rivian has said that it considers Australia a key market (and how could they not given out love of big, grunty utes and SUVs), it has not given a date for an Australian release.

When it does though, it could be ideally suited to Australian conditions, if this image of the R1T jumping a massive sand dune in South America, posted by Rivian via its social media account in the early hours of Wednesday morning (Austalian time), is anything to go by.

If the picture doesn’t tell the tale of a rugged and well optimised for off road conditions these vehicles promise to be clearly enough, take it from the person most qualified to explain the capabilities of the R1T: Rivian CEO and founder RJ Scaringe.

As Scaringe told UK’s Fully Charged last Wednesday, “It can do zero to 60 in three seconds, but that doesn’t really do it justice. What makes the vehicle so unique is the way we’re able to control torque not just front to back but left to right, instantaneously coupled with the ability to adjust to the roll stiffness and damping frequency.”

“You can have a vehicle that instantaneously goes from something that’s incredible off-road to something incredible on the road.”

This is made possible by sensors that tell the vehicle exactly what torque is present in each wheel at any given time, allowing the vehicle to optimise slip for incredible wheel control.

Ready for the weekend? Rivian, yes please.

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