Rivian announces adventure charging network for its electric utes
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Electric car start-up Rivian is planning to boldly go where no other zero-emission maker has before. The American brand is in the advanced stages of bringing its R1T and R1S electric ute and SUV to market, with the first examples expected to be delivered by mid-2021.
Unlike other start-ups that have made big promises then fallen over, it is firming as a serious rival to big-name brands such as Tesla.
The American brand has some big time investors such as Amazon and Ford on the hook for hundreds of millions and, according to some reports, tens of thousands of confirmed pre-orders.
So to make sure its customers can hit the ground running Rivian is building its own electric charging infrastructure … but with a massive twist.
The company is pitching its vehicles as the ultimate weekend machines, capable of handling the daily grind but allowing you to explore anywhere on your days off — similar to how ute buyers treat their vehicles.
But to facilitate this the machines don’t just have to have the capability to handle some serious off-roading they need to be able to make it home safely.
So Rivian is extending its network of fast chargers to off-road locations in its home market, according to a recent interview with the company’s chief RJ Scaringe in TechCrunch.
Scaringe said the chargers might be at popular hiking or mountain biking trails, kayaking spots or mountain climbing locations.
This will be called Rivian’s Adventure Network and will compliment its regular array of superchargers.
If the R1T does make its debut mid next year it will be the first mass produced electric ute in the world, beating planned machines such as the Tesla Cybertruck and the electric Ford F-150.
Rivian spokesman Chris Wollen has previously confirmed to News Corp Australia it is planning to bring its new electric ute Down Under, possibly as soon as 2022.
“We know that there’s markets that will be into these vehicles and the adventure positioning and Australia fits that perfectly. We know we’re nicely suited for Australia so it’s an important market for us,” he said.
But there is no news yet as to whether the company will extend its adventure network overseas.
If it does arrive, the Rivian ute won’t short-change tradies looking to swap out of their HiLuxes and Rangers. The maker claims it will tow 4500kg (compared with 3500kg for the current crop), although towing will diminish its claimed range of up to 640km.
And there are some pretty impressive performance numbers, too.
Power figures vary with specification: the base makes 563kW/1120Nm and the top-spec prioritises range over power, making 522kW/1120Nm.
All are all-wheel drive — electric motors power each wheel, with torque vectoring to ensure optimum grip.
The ute will have an 800kg payload and handle some of the rough stuff with a wading depth of up to a metre.