The Rivian R1T is in pole position to become the first mass-produced all-electric pickup truck as the EV startup recently confirmed that deliveries would start in September.
Naturally, there’s huge anticipation for the R1T among EV enthusiasts, especially among those who have already placed a reservation.
Over the weekend, Rivian offered ten of the earliest reservation holders the chance to get behind the wheel of the R1T. The company released a short teaser video of the experience, which included rides on a gravel road and off-road, as well as an overview of the vehicle.
Now, we get to learn more about what happened at the Rivian Experience Center in Normal, Illinois, from R1T reservation holder John Rhodes (he pre-ordered both the R1T and R1S). One of the lucky ten guests, he shared the entire two-day experience with Rivian Stories in a video podcast.
During the first day, the future R1T owners got to meet Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe as well as engineers, guides, and many other team members. Then they got to ride with RJ driving an R1T around the Rivian Experience Center test tracks, with all terrains and driving modes engaged.
The experience also included a tour of the factory, and then the guests were invited to sit around campfires and taste meals cooked by professional chefs using two R1T camp kitchens. Finally, there was a round table discussion with Rivian team members during which the guests were invited to provide feedback and offer suggestions.
This sounds like great fun, but what everyone wants to know is how the R1T feels like to drive. Well, John was really thrilled with the test drive he took the second day, as he mentions stuff like drifting the truck on the dirt track, climbing a 65% grade dirt hill (even in reverse!), and checking out all the different drive modes.
He says the vehicle felt rock solid and there was barely any wheel slip despite the wet conditions. He also got to drive it on Rivian’s oval track and, according to him, the R1T felt just as quick as the Tesla Model S 100D he’s currently driving. John says he reached 120 mph (193 km/h) on the straightaway—in the pouring rain, mind you—but another guest hit 129 mph (208 km/h).
There are many more driving impressions in the long version of the video, which is only available on the Rivian Stories website for the time being. You'll have to register for that, but it’s free.