A Rivian R1T all-electric pickup was spotted with test vehicle license plates in Korea, near Hyundai’s research and development center in Namyang, with photos of the encounter posted on the @shorts_car Instagram account late last week.

As a reminder, Rivian currently sells its passenger vehicles – the R1T pickup and R1S SUV – exclusively in North America, so seeing one all the way on the other side of the planet is quite interesting and makes us wonder why would an all-electric American truck roam the streets of South Korea.

The Korean Car Blog alleges that the R1T was shipped to the other side of the world because Hyundai wants to benchmark it against some of its upcoming all-electric vehicles, including two pickup trucks, one of which should make its way to North America.


Last year, Hyundai Motor Company announced that it will introduce an all-new dedicated EV architecture in 2025 dubbed Integrated Modular Architecture (IMA) which will underpin everything from small city cars to large SUVs and pickups.

So the theory that Hyundai would test the Rivian R1T to see how it could be beat at its own game sounds reasonable. Another possibility is that somebody purchased the American electric pickup and then moved to South Korea and decided to take his car with him, but it’s close to impossible to verify.

Gallery: 2022 Rivian R1T

This wouldn’t be the first time a Rivian R1T ended up in places where it can’t be officially bought, with an Austrian-registered unit carrying manufacturer license plates being spotted in Belgium, Spain, and Germany, starting rumors about a potential market entry in Europe for the California-based EV startup.

These rumors have been denied by Rivian, though, with the company’s only official presence on the Old Continent being a fleet of Amazon Electric Delivery Vans (EDVs). Furthermore, RJ Scaringe, the firm’s founder and CEO, said in the past that the upcoming, smaller and more affordable R2-based EVs will be available in more parts of the world after going on sale in the US sometime in 2026.

As always, we’d like to know what you think about this, so head over to the comments section below to give us your thoughts.

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