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Rivian R1T electric dual-cab confirmed for Australia: Porsche-beating speed, HiLux-shaming towing

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

18 Apr 2019 • 3 min read

Rivian's all-electric dual-cab truck and SUV have been confirmed for Australia, with company executives today confirming the pair of EV heavyweights are guaranteed for our market.

The Rivian brand - an all-electric Tesla rival responsible for the R1T truck and R1S SUV, and one that just received some US$700m in investment, led by Amazon - is yet to launch in America, with initial production slated for October next year. But on paper, the heavyweights' specs are incredible. Powered by a quad-motor system that delivers 147kW to each wheel, and a staggering 14,000Nm in total torque, Rivian says its truck and SUV can clip 160km/h in just 7.0 seconds.

Questioned whether its electric truck could challenge an ICE competitor off-road, the brand's chief engineer, Brian Gase, didn't hold back.

"We have really focused on the off-road capability of these vehicles. We have 14-inches of dynamic ground clearance, we have a structural underbody, we have all-time all-wheel drive so we can go up 45-degree inlines, and we can accelerate from zero to 60mph (96km/h) in 3.0 seconds," he says.

"I can tow 10,000 pounds (4.5 tonnes). I’ve got a tent that I can throw onto the back of the truck, I’ve got 400 miles (643km) of range, I’ve got all-time all-wheel drive so I can do anything another vehicle can do, and then some."

While Gase wouldn't be drawn on specific timings, he confirmed the brand was planning a local launch, expected to be at least 18 months after the brand's American launch towards the end of 2020.

"Yes we will have an Australian launch. And I can’t wait to come back to Australia and show this to all of those beautiful people," he says.

But the brand warns not to expect a cut-price workhorse, with the R1T especially targeting a more "aspirational" customer, with Gase saying it could pull customers out of sports cars and sedans alike. In the USA, the ute wil start at US$69,000, while the SUV begins at US$74,000.

"Everything that we produce as a company is something that we consider aspirational. I want someone who is 10 years old to have this poster on their wall in the same way I had the poster of a Lamborghini when I was a kid," he says.

"While workhorses are extremely practical and they do a lot of great things, I want to get this into an affordable landscape where you look at it and think ‘with what I save on repairs, with what I save on fuel, and what I actually want out of a vehicle, this ticks all the boxes’.”

"I think people would come to this out of a 911, you'll have people come to this out of an F150, and you’ll have people come to this out of a sedan. Because there are so many compormises that these products have.

"This puts lockable storage in this space, which doesn't exist, it puts dynamic suspension in, so on road its going to feel extremely capable and a lot smaller than it is, but then you also have that off-road side fo the vehicle - that duality doesn’t exist at the moment. "

Will the RT1 be the king of the trucks when it arrives in Australia?