Rivian has been working hard lately, preparing for the imminent release of his first vehicle, the R1T pickup truck. After frustrating delays, the company is finally expected to start deliveries this month. Prior to this auspicious milestone, the EPA lineup numbers for the company’s R1T pickup and R1S SUV have now plummeted.
According to the EPA website, the Rivian R1T pickup has a total range of 314 miles. The Rivian R1S SUV went a step further to score 316 miles in the EPA standard test. The two models tested share the same 135 kWh battery that Rivian calls the “Large pack”. In terms of economy, the R1T registers 48 kWh / 100 miles, with the R1S using a little more juice at 49 kWh / 100 miles. This is equivalent to 70 MPGe and 69 MPGe respectively.
Right now, it’s difficult to compare the results directly with the competition as there aren’t many off-road-focused EVs on the market yet. Looking at the SUV space, the Jaguar I-Pace only has 234 miles of range with a smaller 90 kWh battery. However, the Tesla Model X Long Range Plus goes much further with an EPA rating of 371 miles of range from a 100 kWh battery. It should be noted that the vehicles are more fuel efficient as they are sleek road vehicles with more efficient tires and no real off-road capability.
Looking towards more direct challengers, Ford is aiming for a similar figure of 300 miles of range for the F-150 Lightning with the extended-range battery, while also offering a smaller 230-mile pack. Ford also hopes to increase range on the track with software updates. Meanwhile, Tesla has long claimed that the Cybertruck will deliver 250-500 miles of range depending on trim level, but production on all Cybertruck models is still on hold somewhere in the future.
It should be noted, however, that Rivian is working on a larger battery for the R1T, with the “Max pack” configured to offer a range of 400 miles or better. The larger battery configuration would be available for vehicles delivered from January 2022. In combination with the existing battery option offering more than 300 miles of range, it should put Rivian in the thick of it when it comes down to it. will act from the coming battle for supremacy in the burgeoning market for electric pickup trucks.
Interestingly, despite getting longer range from the same spec battery, the R1S actually registered a worse power saving figure than the R1T pickup. To understand why this is so, we need to understand the test diet. The EPA performs range tests by fully charging a vehicle and then leaving it overnight. It is then attached to a dyno, where the vehicle is subjected to a repeated series of cycles mimicking road and city driving, until the battery is depleted. Using a bench means that aerodynamics play no role, as the vehicle is functionally stationary for the test.
The dynamometer recording reveals how many kilometers the vehicle has driven before the battery runs out. The vehicle is then placed on a charger with an electric meter, which records the amount of electricity needed to refuel the vehicle. From there, the total range traveled divided by the amount of electricity needed to charge the battery can be used to calculate how much electricity a vehicle uses to travel a certain distance. This is measured in terms of kilowatt hours per 100 miles, similar to the classic European method of measuring fuel economy in liters per 100 km.
Thus, it seems that a small natural variation is at play in the tests of the R1T and R1S. In EPA testing, the R1S clearly drove a few extra miles on the bench before the battery drained, but when recharging its battery also sucked in a bit more juice. Either way, it’s a minor difference, but by knowing how the testing process works, we can see behind the curtain and understand what’s going on.
Either way, it looks like Rivian will soon be shipping electric pickup trucks and SUVs with solid range figures and real off-road capability. Other automakers could find themselves catching up if Rivian really puts trucks on the road this month as planned.
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