The first Rivian R1T electric ute made for a customer has rolled off the factory floor at the EV maker’s production line in Normal, Illinois.
The momentous occasion – as it is perhaps the first production electric utility to be made in the US, ahead of competitors including the Tesla Cybertruck, the Ford F-150 Lightning and the GM Hummer EV – was trumpeted on Twitter by the start-up’s CEO, RJ Scaringe.
“After months of building pre-production vehicles, this morning our first customer vehicle drove off our production line in Normal!” he said.
“Our team’s collective efforts have made this moment possible. Can’t wait to get these into the hands of our customers!”
The long-awaited Rivian R1T and the Rivian R1S have certainly been a few years in the making. Starting with a show-stopping debut at the LA Auto Show in 2018, the company has since garnered around $US10.5 billion in funding from the likes of Amazon, Ford, T.Rowe Price and Cox Automotive.
Rivian also now intends to go public, having filed an intention to list publicly in August with a valuation of $US80 billion – which if it goes ahead will make it one of the most valuable carmakers in the world by market capitalisation.
A late 2020 production start was originally planned but was delayed due to the global pandemic. Now, the first Launch editions, allocations of which were exhausted long ago but were available from $US73,000 for the R1T utility and $US75,500 for the R1S SUV, are ready to go.
Both vehicles promise a range of adventure-ready features from three battery pack options (105kWh, 135kWh and 180kWh) that deliver up to 509km official EPA range for the R1S and 505km for the R1T.
Torque between 560-1,120Nm, acceleration from 0-100 km/hr in 3.2 seconds, a top speed is 201 km/hr and a plethora of off-road features such as quad-motor torque vectoring and traction control, lockable tonneau cover, a gear tunnel, numerous powerpoints, ability to wade through a metre of water as well as add-ons like a pull-out kitchen promise to make these vehicles ideal for adventure, and tradies, and so much more.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.