Automotive

Rivian's 750-hp electric camping pickup drives, cooks and lives on pure battery power

Rivian's 750-hp electric campi...
The Tepui tent offers some overnight shelter
The Tepui tent offers some overnight shelter
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Preparing some food and beverage on the Rivian R1T overland pickup
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Preparing some food and beverage on the Rivian R1T overland pickup
The kitchen includes a storage drawer with dish ware/utensil organizer
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The kitchen includes a storage drawer with dish ware/utensil organizer
The small slide-out worktop on the left side holds an electric kettle
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The small slide-out worktop on the left side holds an electric kettle
Rivian designed the custom kitchen to fit neatly inside the R1T's rear storage tunnel
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Rivian designed the custom kitchen to fit neatly inside the R1T's rear storage tunnel
The kitchen is a prototype for now, but Rivian plans to have it ready to offer as an accessory when the truck launches next year
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The kitchen is a prototype for now, but Rivian plans to have it ready to offer as an accessory when the truck launches next year
The Tepui tent provides overnight accommodations to go along with the R1T's cooking capabilities
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The Tepui tent provides overnight accommodations to go along with the R1T's cooking capabilities
The kitchen's dual-burner electric cooktop pulls power from the vehicle's large 180-kWh battery 
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The kitchen's dual-burner electric cooktop pulls power from the vehicle's large 180-kWh battery 
Getting ready for dinner
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Getting ready for dinner
Rivian shows what the R1T can do for overlanders
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Rivian shows what the R1T can do for overlanders
Rivian packed the Dometic fridge away in the frunk as the bulky unit is a bit large for the gear tunnel
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Rivian packed the Dometic fridge away in the frunk as the bulky unit is a bit large for the gear tunnel
Rivian puts its gear storage tunnel to good use
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Rivian puts its gear storage tunnel to good use
A look inside the Rivian R1T
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A look inside the Rivian R1T
Rivian uses vegan leather and sustainable wood in its interior design, aiming to keep the upper part of the cabin luxurious, the lower part sporty and easy to maintain
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Rivian uses vegan leather and sustainable wood in its interior design, aiming to keep the upper part of the cabin luxurious, the lower part sporty and easy to maintain
The Rivian R1T packs a huge 15.6-in infotainment touchscreen
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The Rivian R1T packs a huge 15.6-in infotainment touchscreen
Rivian will launch the R1T in late 2020 
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Rivian will launch the R1T in late 2020 
Rivian tries to warm the overlanding community to electrified driving
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Rivian tries to warm the overlanding community to electrified driving
The kitchen includes a flip-up dual-burner induction cooktop, flip-up worktop and flip-up sink
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The kitchen includes a flip-up dual-burner induction cooktop, flip-up worktop and flip-up sink
Rivian's kitchen is still a prototype, but it does plan to develop it into an available accessory
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Rivian's kitchen is still a prototype, but it does plan to develop it into an available accessory
Rivian overland kitchen
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Rivian overland kitchen
The Tepui tent offers some overnight shelter
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The Tepui tent offers some overnight shelter

The idea of overlanding in an electric vehicle, meandering miles and miles off the electrical grid for days on end, has so far been largely unfathomable, a bit terrifying, even. But we've seen that it's not impossible, and now electric truck startup Rivian is hoping to make it more mainstream. Less than a year after turning heads with an LA Auto Show double debut, it made the trip to Overland Expo West to show how electric power can be a boon rather than bane for overland travel. Its all-electric pickup camper offers an estimated 400 miles (644 km) of range, a roof-top tent and an electric kitchen.

Rivian has been hinting at the R1T's overlanding chops ever since it showed a picture of the model with a roof-top tent during last year's debut. Now it's taking things a step further, bolting a Tepui roof-top tent over the bed and adding a slide-out kitchen.

Rivian will launch the R1T in late 2020 
Rivian will launch the R1T in late 2020 

"We've been coming to Overland for a few years now, learning from this community how they use their vehicles," explained Rivian Creative Director Larry Parker. "Much of what we've learned from Overland attendees has gone into our product design."

EV disadvantages when it comes to long-distance travel are more pronounced, but the five-seat Rivian R1T does offer some advantages, too. The lateral passthrough compartment just ahead of the rear tire has previously been marketed as an ideal storage space for the likes of snowboards and golf bags, but it also fits Rivian's custom-designed slide-out kitchen prototype like a glove, freeing up bed space that might otherwise be dedicated to kitchen gear.

The kitchen includes a flip-up dual-burner induction cooktop, flip-up worktop and flip-up sink
The kitchen includes a flip-up dual-burner induction cooktop, flip-up worktop and flip-up sink

In equipping the kitchen, Rivian sticks with the all-electric theme by wiring up a dual-burner induction cooktop to the vehicle battery, showing how the massive 180-kWh pack can fulfill multiple roles in the field. Rivian says that campers can cook on the stove and use the electric lighting at camp for over a week, depleting only 20 kWh of battery power — 11 percent of the total capacity. The company does notably neglect to mention how quickly the Dometic fridge/freezer hidden away in the frunk will drop battery level.

The kitchen also includes a sink hooked up to a 19-L water tank, a purpose-built slide designed to hold an electric kettle, and the usual collection of drawers, storage nooks and worktop. The slim induction cooktop, sink and work top on the front side all fold down when it's time to slide the kitchen away.

The kitchen's dual-burner electric cooktop pulls power from the vehicle's large 180-kWh battery 
The kitchen's dual-burner electric cooktop pulls power from the vehicle's large 180-kWh battery 

Out back, the custom Tepui tent is mounted on Rivian's flexible cross bar system. The versatile bars can easily pop in and out of the bed walls, making it simple to add them when needed, get them out of the way when not.

Power for Rivian's Overland Expo special comes from the standard 750-hp quad-motor electric drive, which delivers loads of vectored torque to each wheel for precise control and handling. Other features that should prove advantageous for off-road adventurers include the 11,000-lb (5,000-kg) tow rating, 3-foot (1-m) wading depth, adjustable air suspension with up to 14 in (356 mm) of travel, onboard air compressor and trio of 110-volt outlets in the bed. And the 330 liters of additional storage in the front trunk is sure to find some use, too.

Rivian packed the Dometic fridge away in the frunk as the bulky unit is a bit large for the gear tunnel
Rivian packed the Dometic fridge away in the frunk as the bulky unit is a bit large for the gear tunnel

For those looking to tow a trailer, it's worth noting that Rivian estimates towing the full 11,000 lb will cut the R1T range in half, so from 400 miles to 200 miles (322 km) with the flagship battery option.

Deliveries of the R1T pickup will begin in late 2020, and the base model with 105-kWh battery pack and 230-mile (370-km) range will start at US$69,000. Rivian plans to keep the price of the 400-mile flagship below $90,000. It said at Overland Expo that the production slide-out overland kitchen will be available as an option at launch. The seven-seat R1S doesn't have the gear tunnel that the R1T has, but Rivian said it will entertain the idea of building a different kitchen specifically for the SUV, should it receive enough interest.

Source: Rivian

Update: Dometic contacted us to echo the sentiments of a couple of commenters, saying that its CFX35 cooler only uses about 219 watts a day, its CFX75 about 375 watts, so not the big power draw we were thinking it might be. The CFX75's spec sheet lists energy consumption at 105 kWh/year, so the same in a year as the capacity of Rivian's small battery and well less than the 180-kWh battery in the R1T overland truck.

12 comments
guzmanchinky
Build a 4x4 van on this platform and it would be very interesting. The only downside I see is charging in remote areas. RV parks won't let you pull that kind of current, and I can't imagine a worse place to run out of battery than off road somewhere. You can't just bring a few gallons in with a buddy's Jeep, or a tow truck. I do look forward to the day where an overlanding campervan runs for 1000s of miles on a single charge, can heat and cool all day and night silently, run a fridge and hot water system, that would be amazing. It will happen someday.
joseph44
Perhaps a possibility for emergency range extension could be a small petrol-powered generator and some fuel? Even though this sounds counter-intuitive, generators working at their normal most efficient pace are a lot more efficient than a petrol engine directly powering a vehicle. Run your generator for 12 hours and recharge your vehicles battery. Essentially you'd have the option of turning your full-EV into a hybrid for long trips when you're not entirely sure you can recharge.
VincentWolf
I much prefer Bollinger's approach to utility with it's pass thru gate. You can haul any length items along full length plus with red flag haul up to 24' long items. Try that on a Rivian.
Glenn™
Yeah I was thinking the same thing about the charging issues. No solar panels to deploy? Why electric kitchen? Charge from campfire heat? I also see having a generator available that runs off some kind of fuel as well.
PAV
Where are the solar panels? joseph448, I like the way you think.
paul314
If those range numbers are accurate (!) a few kwh should get you out of most problems. That would be about a cab roof worth of solar cells for a couple of days.
ljaques
The Dometic dual fridge/freezer combo in 75quart size uses 1.3Ah/h @ 12v, which is about 375W per day. A mere pittance compared to the stove. I hope Rivian can keep their prices down. They'll sell a sheetload of the things, both in RV and other mode.
AngryPenguin
@joseph44 It would also be a generator that's only in use during long road trip, which would make it better than a normal gasoline car in terms of pollution.
Adam D
The Dometic CFX Powered Cooler (Fridge) only uses 1Ah/h. So it will have a minimal impact on the R1T's power supply.
mark41
I would like to see a trailer equipped with about 25 square metres of fold-out solar panels and a storage battery that can be towed to your base camp in the wilderness, then set up on site to collect solar energy during the day and then run the barbeque and charge you EV at night.