As if itswasn't ambitious enough, startup carmaker Rivian is also planning to build a seven-seat SUV with the somewhat predictable name R1S. Nearly identical to the R1T in most ways, it's scheduled to go on sale in early 2021.
Like the R1T, the R1S will be built atop Rivian's "skateboard" chassis, which bundles a giant battery pack, four electric motors and all other necessary drivetrain components below the top of the wheels. That arrangement helps keep the SUV's center of gravity low. Also on board, as in the pickup truck version: air suspension with adaptive damping and a hydraulically controlled anti-roll system.
Three battery options will be offered, with 135-kilowatt-hour and 180-kWh packs at launch and a 105-kWh one available a little later. Rivian promises impressive driving ranges. There's at least 240 miles with the smallest battery, 310 with the medium option and 410 miles per charge on the 180-kWh model. One caveat: Models with the biggest battery pack only get two rows of seating, not three.
Also just like the R1T, the R1S has a futuristic-looking design that's intended to not only make the SUV an aspirational purchase but also given the fledgling Rivian brand a clear visual identity. Look to full-width bars for daytime running lights up front and taillights out back, as well as "stadium" oval-shaped headlight housings. To give you a sense of its market segment, the R1S is roughly the same length as the three-row.
The power liftgate has a tailgate, too, which can serve as a seating area, and the second and third rows of seats fold flat. Rivian hasn't yet divulged cargo-space numbers, but recall that there is also a 11.7 cubic-foot "frunk" where a traditional SUV's engine would be. The roof will feature attachment points for Rivian's custom, aerodynamically-svelte cross rails, too.
Off-roading prowess will be offered in large helpings, with the R1S boasting the ability for ford 3.3 feet of water, ground clearance of up to 14.4 inches, an approach angle of 34 degrees and a departure angle of 30 degrees.
Of course, we're still some time from seeing the R1S on the road. Rivian plans to spend the next two years getting its plant in Normal, Illinois, online, with the R1T truck set to launch in fall 2020 and the R1S SUV following a few months later. We're eager to see what, if anything, will change with both vehicles in that time period.