Automotive

Rivian R1T ready to roam as America's $72K electric adventure camper

Rivian R1T ready to roam as Am...
Rivian makes it easy to turn the R1T into an all-electric camper truck
Rivian makes it easy to turn the R1T into an all-electric camper truck
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Rivian makes it easy to turn the R1T into an all-electric camper truck
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Rivian makes it easy to turn the R1T into an all-electric camper truck
Basic white and silver come standard, but colors like blue, red, green and yellow cost extra
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Basic white and silver come standard, but colors like blue, red, green and yellow cost extra
Rivian offers options like all-terrain tires, skid protection and tow hooks, and camping gear
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Rivian offers options like all-terrain tires, skid protection and tow hooks, and camping gear
The air compressor comes standard on all R1T trims, and the available accessories kit includes a hose to reach all four tires
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The air compressor comes standard on all R1T trims, and the available accessories kit includes a hose to reach all four tires
Rivian's sleek kitchen design brings a flip-up induction cooktop and sink in front
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Rivian's sleek kitchen design brings a flip-up induction cooktop and sink in front
For a limited time, the slide-out kitchen comes stocked with a Snow Peak kitchen set as standard
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For a limited time, the slide-out kitchen comes stocked with a Snow Peak kitchen set as standard
Pull the kitchen out and you're ready to prepare a meal, whether you're at base camp or just on a quick lunch break
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Pull the kitchen out and you're ready to prepare a meal, whether you're at base camp or just on a quick lunch break
With a neatly integrated kitchen and rooftop tent, the R1T pickup becomes a capable off-road mini-camper
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With a neatly integrated kitchen and rooftop tent, the R1T pickup becomes a capable off-road mini-camper
The Rivian R1T is ready to get off the beaten path, whether used as a camper truck, sports gear hauler or empty pickup
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The Rivian R1T is ready to get off the beaten path, whether used as a camper truck, sports gear hauler or empty pickup
Our basic R1T camper includes the tent but drops the kitchen for the basic slide-out gear platform/table
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Our basic R1T camper includes the tent but drops the kitchen for the basic slide-out gear platform/table
The R1T we'd love to jump in, point and drive
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The R1T we'd love to jump in, point and drive
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The first wave of all-electric pickup trucks is nearing its official kickoff as Rivian plans to begin delivering R1T trucks next month. Before it does, it has made good on its promise of building the e-pickup into a 400-mile truck camper that explores and base-camps on pure battery power. The newly launched Rivian Adventure Gear line lets buyers add a bed-mounted rooftop tent, slide-out kitchen, Snow Peak cooking set and other accessories, creating an all-terrain electric RV for as little as $72K.

Rivian has advertised the R1T as an adventure truck ever since it made it public and even showed it with a rooftop tent (RTT) during its 2018 debut. It quickly followed up at Overland Expo West 2019 with a full overlander variant with slick, all-electric kitchen. This week, it added the tent, kitchen and other handy off-road adventure gear to its online configurator and reservations system, signaling the launch of the most capable all-electric camper in the US.

The most basic part of any RV is overnight shelter, and Rivian delivers that with a custom version of Yakima's SkyRise HD Medium rooftop tent. The tent folds out to sleep up to three people, surrounding them with mesh-covered windows and doors with rollable weather covers. The tent package also includes Rivian's crossbars for easy mounting. The crossbars support a dynamic load of 250 lb (113 kg) and easily move between the R1T bed and roof.

You could add a rooftop tent to any pickup truck, but what pushes the R1T into RV territory is the available slide-out kitchen, which integrates more neatly than any aftermarket kitchen you could secure to the bed. Rivian's kitchen has evolved modestly over the past two years and looks the part of a polished, production-ready piece of camper kit. The dual-burner 1,440-W induction cooktop wires into the onboard EV battery to cook meals without flames. The sink next to it is hooked to a 15-L water tank for washing dishes and rough, dirty hands. Both fold down into the face of the slide-out so that the entire bundle can push away into the R1T's gear tunnel.

Pull the kitchen out and you're ready to prepare a meal, whether you're at base camp or just on a quick lunch break
Pull the kitchen out and you're ready to prepare a meal, whether you're at base camp or just on a quick lunch break

The rear of the kitchen includes a drawer stack, which, for those who order early, comes stocked with 30 pieces of Snow Peak kitchenware neatly arranged in no-rattle inserts. The kitchen locks into the gear shuttle below it and removes whenever owners want a slide-out gear platform without the kitchen equipment.

Those who balk at the $5,000 kitchen price tag might prefer to buy the $1,500 gear shuttle on its own and use it as a table for a portable stove, cutting board, etc. With a 200-lb (90-kg) capacity, it won't have any problems getting the job done. The shuttle also includes 110- and 12-V outlets and will be compatible with future accessories, according to Rivian.

Our basic R1T camper includes the tent but drops the kitchen for the basic slide-out gear platform/table
Our basic R1T camper includes the tent but drops the kitchen for the basic slide-out gear platform/table

Other Rivian adventure gear includes an off-road recovery kit, all-weather floor mats and a clever field kit that tucks away neatly in the door console. The field kit comprises 130 pieces in total, including a full first aid kit and survival gear tools like a firestarter, Lifestraw, emergency blanket and duct tape.

The only piece of the original R1T overland puzzle Rivian doesn't yet sell as part of its adventure gear lineup is the Dometic fridge/freezer it stored away in the frunk of the 2019 Overland Expo concept. So buyers will have to add their own fridge or cooler to keep fresh food and cold drinks at the ready.

We played around with the R1T configurator to put together both a base-level camper and a more fully equipped version specced how we'd do it without budget constraints. Our base camper, pictured above with the gear shuttle/table deployed, starts off with the 300-mile-plus (483-km-plus) R1T Explore edition at $67,500. Only light paint options are available without extra charge, so we went with the "LA Silver" over the "Glacier White." The 21-in wheels with road tires come standard.

Add $2,650 for the Yakima tent and $1,500 for the standalone gear shuttle on which to cook and work, and we arrive at a nice, basic camper truck for $71,650, before fees or taxes. Those who don't consider it a camper without a more complete kitchen can substitute the standalone gear shuttle for the $5,000 kitchen package and get a ready-to-cook camper truck for $75,360. Factor in the $7,500 EV federal tax credit, and you can knock those prices down to $64,150 and $67,860. So that's less than $65K to start for a capable all-terrain light camper that's also a very nice electric truck.

For a limited time, the slide-out kitchen comes stocked with a Snow Peak kitchen set as standard
For a limited time, the slide-out kitchen comes stocked with a Snow Peak kitchen set as standard

Our budget-be-damned R1T overland camper build still starts with an Explore edition, since the upmarket Adventure version brings more aesthetic and convenience upgrades than we need for this particular comparison. Throw in $10K for the 400-plus-mile (644-plus-km) battery upgrade to give it some extra legs on destination-unknown journeys. Then there's $1,800 for all-terrain tires on 20-in wheels, $2,000 for the off-road upgrade package with skid protection and tow hooks, and $800 for a full-size spare. The blue paint costs $2,500.

Bring on the Yakima RTT, kitchen, and an air compressor accessory package with 20-foot (6-m) hose that lets us fill all four tires from the standard onboard compressor. Rivian sold us with how neatly the $150 field kit fits into the door, but we'll bring our own recovery gear rather than dropping $600 on Rivian's package. That's a grand total of $92,460 before fees or taxes, down to $84,960 with the full $7,500 fed tax credit. Now we're rolling out onto wide open BLM lands with this beauty:

Rivian offers options like all-terrain tires, skid protection and tow hooks, and camping gear
Rivian offers options like all-terrain tires, skid protection and tow hooks, and camping gear

Those who prefer the added interior space and hard-wall protection of a slide-in camper will probably have to wait a bit, as the R1T's 4.5-foot (1.4-m) bed is smaller than the 5- to 8-foot (1.5- to 2.4-m) beds standard on existing pickup trucks. We do know of at least one planned Rivian-specific slide-in camper, and with the R1T launch nearing, we'd imagine others are in the works, as well. Although, with up to 11,000 lb (4,990 kg) of towing, R1T owners might be better off sleeping in a camping trailer, with the caveat that maxed-out towing will cut range roughly in half. But there are a lot of nice off-road trailers that weigh far less than 11,000 pounds.

With or without camper equipment, the R1T is a capable on/off-road explorer that includes the torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive performance of a quad-motor powertrain with more than 800 hp and 900 lb-ft of torque on tap. The standard air suspension system adjusts ride height between 7.9 and 14.4 in (20 and 37 cm), and the truck can splash through waters up to 3 feet (91 cm) deep.

The Rivian R1T is ready to get off the beaten path, whether used as a camper truck, sports gear hauler or empty pickup
The Rivian R1T is ready to get off the beaten path, whether used as a camper truck, sports gear hauler or empty pickup

Rivian initially planned to start deliveries of the sold-out R1T Launch Edition trucks this month, but it pushed them back until July and plans to continue until Spring 2022. Deliveries on new preorders, including those with the 400-mile extended-range battery, are scheduled for an early 2022 start. In August, Rivian will venture out on a nationwide drive tour, offering preorder holders the opportunity to get behind the wheel.

Source: Rivian

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3 comments
3 comments
Grunchy
If the F150 lightning is going to cost $40,000 who's going to bother with this thing?
joe46
wow ! that's a lot of coin to go camping, bit pointless when there's cheaper options. F150, cybertruck.
BlueOak
Oh please, stop with the “$40K” F150 Lightning pipe dreams.

That is the stripper, vinyl seat, 230 mile fleet work truck that will be next to impossible for retail customers to buy - if they want it. The squeezed dealer margin of that fleet model will also likely mean dealers will not stock it.

The real price, before options for a retail customer XLT F150 Lightning will be $53,000 for the 230 mile model. Anyone who has ordered a domestic full size pickup truck also knows you end up with at least $5,000 in various mainstream options.... then add $10,000 to bring that 230 mile range up to the base 300 mile range of the Rivian R1T and you have $63,000 before options and closer to $70,000 with options. With no option to reach a 400 mile range as on the Rivian.

The target customers don’t overlap all that much either. The Rivian target customer is more like a Jeep Wranlger customer. And the off-road capability of the Rivian (vs the F150) reflects that.