Rivian on Friday provided a quick glimpse into the development process of its R1T electric pickup truck by releasing a video showing how prototypes are built for testing. The R1T was originally scheduled to start production later this year, but the company now expects the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to cause a delay.
The prototype trucks use components of identical specification to the production versions, but everything is hand assembled at a special shop, rather than on a conventional assembly line. The prototypes are used for testing and, because of their hand-built nature, will likely be crushed after they've performed their jobs. The prototypes are used to test the dynamics, winter temperatures, electronics, software, and driver-assistance systems, among others.
The R1T, along with the R1S electric SUV, uses a "skateboard" platform built with boxed frame rails that contains all of the powertrain and mechanical components. This allows different bodies to be easily placed on top. In addition to the R1T and R1S, Rivian has been contracted to build electric delivery vans for Amazon and a Lincoln electric vehicle on the same platform.
Rivian R1T electric pickup concept
With the largest battery pack (a whopping 180 kwh), Rivian claims the R1T will have a range of 400 miles. Rivian has also claimed 0-60 mph in around 3.0 seconds, a towing capacity of around 7,700 pounds, and a payload capacity of 1,763 pounds.
The R1T also has some unusual features that take advantage of its electric powertrain. Without an engine or driveshafts to package, Rivian was able to give the truck a "frunk," as well as a tunnel between the cab and bed for storing long items. Rivian has also said the R1T (and R1S) will be able to perform a "tank turn," spinning a full 360 degrees in place.
Rivian plans to build the R1T and R1S, along with the unnamed Lincoln model, at a former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois. Rivian bought the factory from Mitsubishi in 2016.