The Rivian R1T is the first production pickup truck to feature an electric motor for each wheel, which means that each of the four wheels is independently controlled.
This gives the electric pickup great versatility and capability, with Engineering Explained's Jason Fenske calling the R1T's unusual setup "the holy grail of AWD systems." That is really high praise coming from an engineer who creates in-depth technical videos that teach viewers about the science behind various vehicle technologies.
In this video, he focuses on the 2022 Rivian R1T, which he calls "a vehicle like no other on the market." Jason has been clearly won over by the Rivian's all-wheel-drive system after getting some time behind the wheel of the electric truck and he explains why the four-motor setup is "as good as it gets" in the above video.
Now, the video focuses on off-road and on road scenarios. Starting with the former, Jason shows how the R1T's AWD system is vastly superior to any other AWD system on the market, be it a road-focused one that uses open differentials all around or an off-road-centric one that uses lockable diffs.
The comparison serves to make a point that combustion engine-based designs require sacrificing either wheel speed or torque splits. The Rivian R1T is massively different because any of its wheels can rotate at any speed and with whatever torque the electric motor can supply, making it ideal to use both off-road and on road.
While the implications of this characteristic are impressive, what blew Jason's mind is the fact that the R1T can calculate the friction of the surface it's driving on and thus determine the surface type. That way, the vehicle can optimize the AWD system for that particular surface.
The video then goes into greater detail about wheel spin and how that makes a difference in various driving scenarios. There's an ideal amount of wheel spin for each specific surface and tire, and the fact the Rivian R1T is able to achieve that gives it a major advantage over its competitors, electric or not.