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Meet the electric bakkie that’ll tow five tonnes and hit 100 in three seconds!

December 6, 2018
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There can be no denying the rapid rise in the development of electric vehicles and the pace with which established vehicle manufacturers and green start-ups are clamouring to get onto the bandwagon.

Revealed this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show (it started on November 30 and runs to December 9), was the Rivian R1T – an all-electric pickup (or bakkie, whichever you prefer) that is scheduled for market introduction in 2020.

In addition to those headline figures, Rivian says the R1T will boast an 800 kg payload, and a range of up to 640 km!  

These impressive stats are thanks to a 180 kWh battery pack that produces 522 kW and 1 120 Nm! Of course, smaller battery packs are available (105 and 135 kWh), but the smallest still produces 300 kW and 560 Nm – figures not many diesel-powered bakkies on the market today can match.

It’ll be capable off road, too. Rivian quotes this 5,4-m long, 2,0-m wide all-wheel drive vehicle as having a maximum ground clearance of 360 mm and a water-fording depth of one metre!

Naturally, the R1T will be technologically advanced. Other features include a fully digital dashboard and level-3 autonomy (not fully autonomous, but the vehicle can handle most driving situations).

It’ll be practical, too – the load bed will feature an electrical power socket as well as a compressed-air outlet; the full-sized spare tyre is located under the rear bin liner; a flexible cross-bar system allows objects to be mounted almost anywhere on the vehicle; and, for those odd items, an innovative “Gear Tunnel” between the load bed and cab creates additional storage.

The Michigan-based start-up (if that’s what one can call a nine-year-old company with a staff complement of 600) has also developed the R1S SUV alongside the R1T, on the same Rivian “Skateboard” platform.

With vehicles like these – that seem to be thoroughly developed and innovative – popping up, the 2020s are going to be very interesting indeed!

My life has always revolved around anything with wheels and an engine. It doesn’t matter if its an old banger, the latest hot-hatch or a fancy 4×4 – any excuse is a good excuse to take it for a cruise, spank it at the track or go bundu-bashing (the mud-and-rocks-side-of-a-mountain type, not the exploring-Joburg’s-pavements type). Otherwise, chances are you’ll find me lying underneath one of my beloved toys or with my head buried in its engine bay, tinkering away.

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