Electric ute shows off surprising ability
THE much-hyped Rivian R1T all-electric ute could be the most popular vehicle at a camp site.
Emphasising its adventurous spirit, the American manufacturers have created a range of concept accessories that were shown off at the Overland Expo in Arizona over the weekend.
They include a slide out kitchen with an induction cooktop powered by the battery pack that has a capacity of up to 180kWh - about double that of many luxury long-range electric cars.
Hidden in the "gear tunnel" that sits between the passenger compartment and back wheels, the kitchen is claimed to be able to be used for regular cooking for a week consuming just 11 per cent of the battery pack.
Of course, using an induction cooker means missing out on the smoky goodness of cooking on an open fire, but the R1T is all about sustainable motoring and looking after the environment.
Besides, many campsites and caravan parks don't allow open fires.
The kitchen also includes an electric kettle and storage for pots, pans, plates, cups and cutlery.
Under the bonnet (where there is 330 litres of storage) was a portable electric fridge, but company executives say they plan to offer a customised fridge manufactured to fit the R1T's load space.
The distinctively-styled ute also includes an airy tent on its tray and roof racks carrying off-road recovery gear.
With all those batteries there's the ability to floodlight the campsite, too.
But it's the off-road ability of the R1T that is also being talked up.
The company says its flat underbody has been designed to fend off scrapes and bumps for those planning to get down and dirty.
It also has a huge 360mm of ground clearance once the suspension has been raised by up to 160mm, something that helps it wade through up to one metre of water.
Plus, it can tow up to 5000kg, albeit significantly reducing the driving range.
All from a ute claimed to produce up to 562kW from four in-wheel electric motors, helping it blast to 100km/h in a bit over 3.0 seconds and travel up to 640km on a charge.
Not that any Rivians have been produced yet.
Rivian is a yet-to-launch American brand with aspirations of taking on Tesla with its all-electric range that is planned to kick off late in 2020.
Its first two vehicles include the R1T ute and R1S seven-seat SUV, each planned to come to Australia soon after exports begin in 2021.
Rivian has financial backing from Amazon and last month Ford announced it would invest US$500 million ($725 million) in the Detroit-based manufacturer that is preparing a former Mitsubishi plant in Illinois to produce its vehicles.