Rivian R1T electric pickup truck slays rocks and dirt in new video

Rivian uploaded a short video to YouTube with its upcoming electric truck drifting through corners and climbing up rocks.

Emme Hall Former editor for CNET Cars
I love two-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, seven-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.
Emme Hall
2 min read

We here at Roadshow have been stoked about the upcoming Rivian R1T since we first laid eyes on it at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2018. Since then the company has had to delay its official launch until 2021 thanks to COVID-19, but that hasn't stopped engineers from taking a prototype out to the desert in Arizona for some dirt shenanigans. 

In the video the Rivian does some drifting on dirt, kicking up a fair amount of photo-ready dust. It's impressive but it's fairly easy to get anything to go all slidey on low-traction, flat surfaces. What's really cool is the rock-crawling section. Here the R1T scrambles up and down a steep, rock-strewn hill with no difficulty. It's tough to tell if the truck employs a differential locker or if it's a combination of torque vectoring and brake traction control. Regardless, the result is the same. The truck handles the medium-size boulders like it ain't no thing.

Rivian R1T
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Rivian R1T

Climbing up rocky hills in Arizona.


However, I think the most telling frame in the video is seeing the joy in the engineer's eyes over his mask as he digs into all that sweet instant electric torque.

So far all we know about the R1T is that it will have a range of up to 400 miles, a 0-to-60 time of about 3 seconds, and it can ford water up to three feet deep. An electric motor resides at each wheel --hello, tank turns-- and offers up a payload rating of 1,764 pounds and a tow rating of just over 11,000 pounds.

All of that sound great, and if the video is any indication the Rivian R1T should be a worthy desert contender. However, we'll have to reserve judgement until we actually get our butt behind the wheel.

Rivian R1T electric truck gets its desert on

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