Rivian Revolution

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5. Rivian Bike Mount (2)
The Rivian R1T pickup truck

All-electric goes eclectic with the R1T pickup truck.

By Joe Yogerst


Few people in the general public had even heard of Rivian until 2020, when two of its all-electric R1T pickup trucks served as support vehicles for Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman in the documentary series “Long Way Up”: Rather than the all-electric Harley-Davidson motorcycles ridden by the two actors-turned-travelers, the real stars of the ride from South America to Los Angeles were the Rivian pickups.

While the bikes struggled in more remote areas, the all-wheel-drive Rivians sailed through the wilds of Patagonia, the Andes and the Atacama Desert. There is also their striking appearance—a streamlined design and those eye-catching “stadium” headlights. Not only did the pickups perform well, but they looked good doing it.

The following year, R1Ts started to roll off the Rivian assembly line in Normal, Illinois. And it wasn’t surprising that the company created three of its Rivian Spaces—where would-be drivers could scrutinize and test drive its vehicles—in Southern California, including one inside the historic South Coast Theater in Laguna Beach.

A nearly hourlong test drive starts with a comprehensive bow-to-stern familiarization of the R1T before you even slide behind the steering wheel.

Several features stand out, such as the gear tunnel beneath the back passenger seat that runs all the way through the vehicle and an onboard air compressor mounted in the flatbed that enables the remote inflation of tires, air mattresses, beach balls, etc.

While the drive is undoubtedly smooth, you definitely know that you’re piloting a truck. The passenger cabin is high; you’ve got a great view over the rest of the traffic. And you can feel the weight (8,532 pounds when at capacity) of the super-sturdy body, which blends steel, aluminum, carbon fiber and a battery that gives the R1T a range of up to 410 miles on a full charge.

Like any all-electric vehicle, the torque is totally rad. With the ability to speed from zero to 60 mph in roughly three seconds, expect the G-force to thrust you back into the driver’s seat when you floor it off the line.

The spacious flatbed is ready-made for camping, biking, surfing and other outdoor adventures. And the R1T can tow up to 11,000 pounds worth of trailer, boat or whatever you want to drag along. Although you’ll no doubt stick to paved urban roads during a test drive, Rivian’s off-road capabilities are outstanding, with a maximum clearance of 14.9 inches and 20-inch all-terrain wheels to take you wherever you want to go.



Rivian South Coast Theater

162 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach

888-748-4261; rivian.com


5. Rivian-R1T three-person tent (2)

Rivian’s Gear Shop hawks a wide range of ACCESSORIES, from a three-person tent with a ladder that fits onto the flatbed to packing cubes and duffel bags that fit snugly into the pickup’s storage areas to Rivian-branded dog leashes, pet bowls, cargo crossbars, cooking utensils for camping, and bike, ski, kayak or surfboard mounts.


1. Rivian R1T stadium headlights (2)

Rivian’s signature oval-shaped STADIUM HEADLIGHTS are energy efficient and cast a wide beam for better vision at night, but they also give the pickup an anthropomorphic personality similar to the cartoon vehicles in Pixar Animation Studios’ “Cars” movies.


4. Rivian-R1T 16-inch touchscreen

The roomy cabin features a 16-inch TOUCH-SCREEN DISPLAY with a sophisticated infotainment system in the middle of the dashboard plus a 12-inch gauge cluster behind the heated steering wheel and two rows of seats covered in synthetic “vegan leather” upholstery.


2. Rivian-R1T Gear Tunnel (2)

Running all the way through the vehicle, the GEAR TUNNEL is ideal for storing surfboards, wetsuits, snowboards, camping equipment and other items. It’s easy to clean and equipped with LED lighting and two power outlets for charging your electronics on the road.

Photos Courtesy of Rivian

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