“Cool truck, bro. Is that the Cybertruck?” asked a curious holiday shopper. We were on our first nighttime excursion in the Rivian R1T. Its unique light signature gives it away as something different in the pickup-rich environment of southeastern Michigan. It’s possible the shopper had a sense of humor and was riffing off comments from former Rivian executive Laura Schwab, who skewered Rivian for having a “toxic bro culture” and filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit against the marque days before the company went public. Well, as the opening stock price attests, Rivian is indeed a tech-bro fave. Three days after the IPO, the 12-year-old company’s value surpassed $120 billion. At press time, its value had dropped to $71 billion.
Whatever the company’s value, it turns out that Rivian makes one hell of a little truck. We say “little” because while the R1T Launch Edition’s base price of $74,075 is anything but, its dimensions and proportions are closer to those of a mid-size pickup. To the eye, it seemed identical in size to our photographer’s Ford Ranger. Yet at 217.1 inches long, the R1T is 6.3 inches longer and its wheelbase of 135.8 inches a whopping 9.0 inches longer.
By mass, the R1T’s 7173 pounds is closer to that of the heavy-duty, three-quarter-ton full-size pickup class. Much of its weight is attributable to the 7776 cells in the 1755-pound, 128.9-kWh battery pack [see “Curiosities” to learn where one more cell lives]. No traditional heavy-duty pickup, however, has 835 horsepower at its disposal. That power makes the R1T the quickest pickup we’ve ever tested. Sixty mph comes in 3.3 seconds; 100 arrives in 9.0. A quarter-mile pass takes 11.9 seconds with the truck going 110 mph. The four electric motors each drive a wheel, and launches are easy and repeatable. A motor at every corner can enable a Tank Turn feature that does a skid-steer impression, but that’s not in production yet.