Rivian’s Punishing the R1T Off-Road to Ensure It’s Capable of Adventures
Electric truck startup Rivian is putting its new R1T pickup through rigorous off-road validation testing to prove its capability and durability. Across hot desert terrain, freezing winter conditions, and rocky courses, Rivian aims to show the battery-powered R1T can confidently go where gasoline-powered trucks venture. The intensive testing demonstrates Rivian’s commitment to delivering adventure-ready electric trucks ready for outdoor exploration straight from the factory floor.
Overview of Rivian’s R1T Testing
- Rivian is testing early R1T prototypes under extreme conditions globally.
- Validation testing began in 2019 and continues building in intensity as production nears.
- The testing pushes components to their limits across hundreds of unique courses.
- Rivian trucks rack up over 1.5 million test miles annually across hot, cold, sandy, snowy, wet, humid and high-altitude conditions.
- Data and lessons learned continuously improve vehicle hardware and software.
Rivian R1T Capability
As an electric adventure pickup, key R1T features enable off-road prowess:
- Up to 400 miles of driving range from the 180 kWh battery.
- Four-motor architecture provides torque vectoring for precise all-wheel drive traction.
- Adjustable air suspension allows up to 14.9 inches of ground clearance.
- Electronic differential locks optimize grip across tough terrain.
- Wading depth of up to 3.6 feet and truck bed tow rating of 17,000 pounds.
- Protective skid plates shield the battery and vulnerable components.
Punishing Off-Road Courses
Specific off-road courses Rivian uses for testing include:
- Steep inclines and declines with up to a 45 degree grade.
- Deep water troughs, rivers, and streams repeatedly testing water fording capacity.
- Rocky terrain and boulders to assess underbody protection and clearances.
- Sandy desert hills climbing up to 1,000 feet evaluating traction.
- Deep ruts and uneven ground examining suspension articulation.
- Corrosion testing including salt spray chambers and long-term coastal exposure.
Simulating Customer Use Cases
Rivian mimics real-world customer activities like:
- Towing boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, and trailers.
- Hauling heavy cargo in the truck bed and gear tunnel.
- Adding roof racks, exterior mounts, and accessories.
- Charging repeatedly using AC, DC fast charging, and mobile charging.
- Using tools and built-in power sources from the R1T battery.
- Going on multi-day camping trips and overlanding excursions fully off-grid.
Extreme Environment Testing
The R1T endures challenging hot and cold conditions:
- Hot weather testing occurs in Arizona, the Middle East, and Australia exposing trucks to temperatures exceeding 100°F for weeks.
- Cold exposure happens in Northern Sweden, Canada, and Alaska subjecting trucks and batteries to temperatures as low as -40°F.
- Elevation testing in Colorado and elsewhere evaluates performance at up to 14,000 feet.
- Coastal corrosion testing happens in Portugal and ocean mist chambers.
Production Readiness Validation
Rivian’s testing regimen proves:
- Durability by accumulating hundreds of thousands of test miles per prototype.
- Capability via intense off-road courses and towing challenges.
- Reliability by detecting vulnerabilities early for reengineering.
- Safety through collision testing and rollover validation.
- Manufacturing quality by vetting production-intent vehicles.
- Performance upgrades by rapidly iterating vehicle calibrations.
Rivian R1T Launch Editions
The first R1Ts delivered to customers will be well-proven Launch Edition models. Highlights include:
- Special Launch Green paint color with black badging.
- Upgraded cabin materials like vegan leather seats.
- Electrified gear tunnel dividing the cabin for extra storage.
- Kitchen with onboard electric stove, sink, and utensils.
- Power tonneau cover to easily access the truck bed.
- Large infotainment touchscreen angled toward the driver.
Rivian Adventure Network
Rivian is also building an adventure ecosystem for owners:
- Nationwide network of charging points called the Rivian Adventure Network to enable long-distance trips. Includes Level 2 AC charging and DC fast charging.
- Partnerships with outdoor brands like OR, Merrell, Hipcamp, National Parks Foundation.
- Guides and resources to help owners discover epic adventures.
- Accessory lineup built specifically for the R1T enabling further customization.
Testing Never Really Ends
Even after production begins, Rivian will keep testing and learning:
- Hardware upgrades and design changes roll out through normal model year enhancements to improve capabilities.
- New software updates constantly push OTA to customers’ trucks expanding features and optimization.
- Fleet trucks rack up millions more miles annually providing broad data at scale to engineers.
- Future variants like the R1S SUV leverage the existing R1T knowledge base.
The Bottom Line
Rivian’s exhaustive evaluation across demanding conditions prioritizes reliability and capability so owners can feel confident trekking off the beaten path without range or durability worries. This rigorous regimen helps ensure the R1T can deliver exhilarating all-electric adventurestraight from the factory floor.