Who is Rivian? The Story Of The Adventurous EV

Rivian truck

Rivian jumped onto the scene in 2018 when they unveiled two vehicles a truck called the R1S and an SUV called the R1T at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Founder R.J. Scaringe had dreamed of starting a car company in high school. He would rebuild vintage Porsches in his spare time and went on to study engineering at MIT. He would receive a Doctorate of Mechanical Engineering from MIT’s Sloan Automotive Lab in 2009 and that same year he founded originally Mainstream Motors then quickly renamed to Avera.

Who Is Rivian?

The first vehicle Avera started working on was a small coupe. The company was having trouble getting investors in the coupe and R.J. finally decided to scrap the entire vehicle and rethink his business. He ultimately settled on the idea of wanting to make vehicles that would enable and inspire people to go on adventures. An adventure brand that would make vehicles tough enough for any outdoor adventure and large enough to fit all your people and gear.

Around this same time they were sued by Hyundai because they claimed the name Avera was too close to the Azera vehicle name. Instead of fighting a lawsuit they chose to rename the company again and Avera became Rivian. Rivian is a play on words combining Indian River into one word. The Indian River is a lagoon in Florida RJ would visit as a kid.

In 2015 Rivian had secured enough money to open research facilities in the Bay Area of California and another in Plymouth Michigan. In 2017 they purchased on old Mitsubishi production plant in Normal Illinois. Their first vehicle The R1T Truck finally began shipping late 2021 after Covid related delays due to the global chip shortage. Rivian holds the record of being the first automaker to bring an electric truck to market. Beating more established competitors such as Ford, GM and Tesla.

The Rivian Skateboard Platform

The vehicles are built on what is called a skateboard platform. The base structure of the vehicle houses the batteries, suspension, motors and computers. This same platform can be utilized by all of their vehicles including upcoming vehicles. They can also license out the platform for other car manufacturers to use. For example, Rivian has an agreement with Amazon to build 100k delivery trucks for Amazon by 2030 also built on the skateboard platform.

The Rivian R1T Pickup Truck

Building on the adventure theme. The R1T is built to be tough and fast. You can drive through 3 feet of water and the battery is protected. It can rock crawl a 100% grade. You get up to 14.9 inches of ground clearance in Off-Road mode and can tow up to 11,000 lbs. It accelerated up to 60mph in 3 seconds and you can get up to an amazing 400 miles of range.

Called by some the Tesla of trucks. Production on the truck began in 2020. Starting at 73k the R1T comes in 3 trim options. Dual-Motor AWD, Performance Dual-Motor AWD, and Quad-Motor AWD. Interior


  • Range:
    • Dual Motor AWD Standard Battery Pack: 270mi
    • Dual Motor AWD Large Battery Pack: 350 mi
    • Dual Motor AWD Max Battery Pack: 400 mi
    • Performance Dual Motor AWD Large Battery Pack: 350 mi
    • Performance Dual Motor AWD Max Battery Pack: 400 mi
    • Quad Motor AWD: 328 mi
  • 0-60 Acceleration: Base Dual Motor AWD 4.5 sec, Performance Dual Motor AWD 3.5 sec, Quad Motor AWD 3.0 sec
  • Horsepower: Dual Motor AWD 600 hp, Performance Dual Motor AWD 700 hp, Quad Motor AWD 835 hp.
  • Top Speed: 112 mph all trims
  • DC Fast Charging Speed: 220 kW – 140 miles of range in 20 minutes.
  • Towing Capacity: 11,000 pounds
  • Seating Options: 5 seats
  • Storage Space: 62 cubic feet of storage space. 4.5 feet bed length.
  • Driver+: Highway Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Change Assist, Active Safety Assist

Unique Features of The R1T

The R1T has some fun cool features. Such as a built in flashlight in the drivers door. A pretty good size bluetooth speaker under the middle console between the seats. In the truck bed there is a 150psi air compressor that comes with a 20 foot hose that can be used to air up all 4 tires or anything else such as a pool floaty or air mattress. Behind each headrest in the seats there is a USB C charging port. When you lock the doors it makes a fun bird chirp sound inspired by nature.

Gear Tunnel

Perhaps the most unique feature of all is the gear tunnel. Behind the rear seats and in front of the real wheels is a tunnel that goes all the way through from one side of the vehicle to the other. On each side there is a door that drops down to gain access to the gear tunnel. These doors can each handle weight up to 300 lbs. These doors can come in handy when loading large equipment in the trunk or securing something to the roof on the racks.

The gear tunnel is perfect for storing items such as golf clubs or duffel bags. There is a power outlet on each side of the tunnel. The tunnel has a total of 11.7 cubic feet of storage. The tunnel is even accessible from the inside. When you flip down the middle armrest between the seats there is a little door you can open to gain access to the gear tunnel.

Storage in the R1T

The R1T has storage everywhere. From the very large 11 cubic feet frunk, to the 4.5 foot long bed that extends to 7 feet when you open the gate. There is of course the gear tunnel with 11.7 cubic feet and then inside the vehicle there is storage in the center console, front door pockets, tip out trays under the front seats and a good sided bin under the back seats. This adds up to over 62 cubic feet of storage in the vehicle. The one place you might be surprised to not find storage is the glovebox. The R1T does not have a glovebox.

Interior of the R1T

The interior is very luxurious and spacious. Wood grain accents throughout the interior, spacious center storage bin. From a tech perspective the Rivian has what you would expect from an EV. Large center touch screen that houses most of the controls for the vehicle. It also does have a instrument cluster behind the steering wheel.

The infotainment system is entirely designed in-house by Rivian all software is created by them. Unfortunately this does mean there is no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support. Some reviewers have complained the interface to be a bit buggy and slow but like Tesla’s it does receive continuous over the air updates so it should continue to improve over time.

The Rivian R1S SUV

Rivian R1S

The feature set of the R1S is almost identical to the R1T in fact the front end of the vehicles is almost identical as they are both the R1 vehicle just one has a truck bed and one has extra seats and an SUV design in the back. The off-road 3+ feet of water, rock crawling and ground clearance are the same.

The towing capacity is a little lower at 7,700 lbs. 3 second acceleration is also the same but max range on the R1S is 10 miles lower at 390 mi. It comes in with the same trim levels as the R1T Dual Motor AWD, Performance Dual Motor AWD and Quad Motor AWD. It starts at 78k and began shipping summer 2022.


  • Range:
    • Dual Motor AWD Standard Battery Pack: 260mi
    • Dual Motor AWD Large Battery Pack: 340 mi
    • Dual Motor AWD Max Battery Pack: 390 mi
    • Performance Dual Motor AWD Large Battery Pack: 340 mi
    • Performance Dual Motor AWD Max Battery Pack: 390 mi
    • Quad Motor AWD: 321 mi
  • 0-60 Acceleration: Base Dual Motor AWD 4.5 sec, Performance Dual Motor AWD 3.5 sec, Quad Motor AWD 3.0 sec
  • Horsepower: Dual Motor AWD 600 hp, Performance Dual Motor AWD 700 hp, Quad Motor AWD 835 hp.
  • Top Speed: 125 mph all trims
  • DC Fast Charging Speed: 220 kW – 140 miles of range in 20 minutes.
  • Towing Capacity: 7,700 pounds
  • Seating Options: 7 seats
  • Storage Space: 105 cubic feet of storage space. Including 17.6 cubic feet behind the third row.
  • Driver+: Highway Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Change Assist, Active Safety Assist

The Rivian Adventure Network

Concerned about the unreliability of public charging networks such as Electrify America and others Rivian has decided to build its own charging network. They want to cover the entire US and Canada by the end of 2023 with 600 DC Fast Chargers. Focusing first on the west coast and east coast corridors they will then expand to the entire US. With the goal of allowing cross country trips to be completed using entirely their network.

Continuing in the adventure theme they also have a unique goal of covering off road locations, trails and public parks with Rivian chargers. These off road chargers are called Rivian Waypoints and they are Level 2 chargers. Currently they are working on adding Waypoints to all state parks in Colorado and Tennessee. They also have Waypoints near Moab Utah.

Originally that network would be exclusive to Rivian vehicles but in conjunction with their Telsa partnership in June 2023 they will begin opening up the Rivian Adventure Network to other electric vehicles. The Partnership with Tesla will follow Ford and GM to open up the Tesla Supercharger network to Rivian EVs. Rivian will also switch their charging port on their vehicles to the Tesla NACS connector in 2025. If you are a current customer you will be able to get an NACS adapter from Rivian for free.

Does Rivian Have Self Driving?

No not in the way that Tesla does. Currently Rivian does not have self driving in their vehicles. They do have multiple driver assistance technologies collectively they call Driver+. What is included in Driver+? There are Driving Assist technologies and Active Safety Assist technologies. Under the Driving Assist it includes Highway Assist automatic steering, braking and acceleration on supported highways. Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Change Assist. Under the Active Safety Assist it includes Lane Keep Assist prevent you from accidentally leaving your lane, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Automatic High Beams, Park Assist, Trailer Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking and Dynamic Brake Support.

Is There A Membership Fee for Rivian Owners?

Yes at some point there will be a charge for certain features. Both the LTE connectivity in the vehicle and access to their Adventure Charging Network will both have a yearly fee. However currently it seems Rivian is covering the cost for both. At the time of writing LTE fees should be covered through 2023 and Adventure Network Pricing should start rolling out at anytime.

What Upcoming Vehicles Does Rivian Have In The Pipeline?

Rivian is currently working on their R2 platform. This is expected to be a lower cost platform than the R1 and will offer vehicles at a lower price point then currently offered. They are expecting to start production in 2025 and deliver vehicles in 2026. One big change for the R2 platform is the charging port will the Tesla NACS standard instead of CCS. All R1 vehicles will be switched over as well in 2025.

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