Last year, a new American automaker called Rivian released the first electric truck, the exciting Rivian R1T. It is an adventure vehicle with a unique design, a lot of power and a lot of love.
At first glance, the R1T looks like a typical mid-sized truck, if not a little bigger, but once you dig in you’ll find all sorts of neat additions or features hiding in plain sight. This vehicle can go up to 314 miles on a single charge, going from 0-60 mph in about three seconds, but can tow more than 11,000 lbs.
The Rivian R1T has a variable-height suspension that adjusts on-the-fly for better ground clearance off-road or longer on-road range. As you can see it does a little bit of everything, but that’s not all.
If you’ve just bought the Rivian R1T, are considering getting one over the F-150 Lightning, or don’t want to wait for the Cybertruck, here are some of the best Rivian R1T features.
The acceleration tunnel
There aren’t that many electric vehicle parts or powertrains anywhere, allowing the company to create some ingenious storage options. Perhaps my favorite Rivian R1T feature is what the company calls the acceleration tunnel.
Behind the rear passenger doors is a storage tunnel accessible from both sides of the truck. You can even access it from the cabin. It has a carpeted interior to keep things safe, mounting points and you’ll find both a 110-volt and 12-volt outlet to charge your gear.
The company says this tunnel can hold more than 200 lbs of gear and is even planning to sell an epic camp kitchen designed specifically for the gear tunnel. This storage space is so vast that you can find videos of grown adults climbing through it all over YouTube.
Storage options are everywhere inside and outside this truck. We’re talking about the trunk (also known as Frunk), the center console, a fold-out storage compartment for the driver’s seat, luggage space under and behind the rear seats, the gear tunnel and even storage space in the bed.
While many EVs don’t have a spare tire, the Rivian R1T does. It’s also not under the truck, so you don’t have to get dirty to fix a flat tire. Instead, it is located in a storage compartment in the back of the truck. And if you don’t think you need the spare, you can easily remove it so owners can use that space as extra storage.
If you’re trying to compete with established automakers and EV brands like Tesla, it’s always a good thing to add a few extra goodies. Plus, Rivian calls this an “adventure vehicle,” so it only makes sense that the company added some neat accessories that every truck owner and outdoor enthusiast will love.
For starters, a durable aluminum flashlight is built into the driver’s door. Yes, it is always charged thanks to wireless charging and it uses one of the more than 7,700 battery cells in the vehicle. Like those umbrella spots on upscale luxury cars, the Rivian comes with something far more useful, a 1000-lumen flashlight.
Bluetooth Camp Speaker and Lantern
Rivian didn’t stop with a flashlight either. Each truck also comes with a removable Bluetooth speaker and camp lantern in the truck under the center console.
Thanks to wireless charging in the cubby, it is always charged and ready to use. When you’re sitting around a campfire, on the beach, or want some tunes while you’re working in the garage, pull it out and bang on the beats. The bottom edge has multiple “soft glow” LEDs that give off a warm campfire glow. It’s the perfect camp lighting accessory, lasting over six hours on a single charge.
Although Rivian has been talking about this feature since 2018, many people may not realize it’s real. Like the new Hummer EV that offers crabwalk mode, the Rivian R1T has active 4-way steering, meaning the front wheels can turn left while the rear wheels turn right. This allows him to do a full 180 or 360 while standing still.
Imagine going offroad but get stuck at an obstacle that you can’t pass but there is no room to turn around easily. Just turn on tank rotation, turn the wheels and turn the car in place until it faces the other direction. The video above should show you everything you need to know.
It sounds like one of those new features to grab attention, but as an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast myself, this is one of those features I wish my Toyota Tacoma had. It will get you out of a tricky situation, that’s for sure.
The light bar on the front is also a charging indicator
While the front of the Rivian R1T is probably the most controversial part of the design, it has some great aspects to it. For example, the large light bar between the headlights doubles as a visual charge indicator while the vehicle is charging the batteries.
Instead of taking out your smartphone and opening the app to see how charged the battery is, all you have to do is look at the front light. It starts out red, has a charging animation, and once the battery is full enough, it turns green, letting you know the truck is ready to drive.
Built-in air compressor
Nobody likes dealing with a low or flat tire, especially when camping or in the wilderness. Fortunately, Rivian thought of that too. The R1T uses air suspension to raise and lower the truck, and in a clever move, Rivian will let owners tap into that tank as well and use it as an air compressor.
In the cargo area of the truck, where there are some lamps and sockets, you will also find an attachment for the supplied air hose. Just plug it in and add air to a low tire, or blow dirt out of the floor. In addition, many off-roaders air the tires for a smoother ride and improved traction, and this way you can air again after you reach the destination or are ready to go home. We like that you can also set the psi of your favorite band, and it will stop automatically.
It’s a small feature, but it’s still a feature. Today most cars have a touch button, so you only get a key fob for unlocking the doors and the like. Instead of your typical boring key ring, the Rivian R1T fob is a durable aluminum carabiner. You can attach it to a belt loop or water bottle, or hook it onto your go-bag, so it’s always secure.
A carabiner is also easier to quickly remove from a keychain and give to someone, rather than a typical keychain that destroys your fingernails. Plus, Rivian says the key fob is also waterproof, so it can handle your outdoor adventures just as well as the truck. And if you don’t want to have your key with you, you can always use your phone to unlock the car.
Gear Guard Cable and Camera System
And finally, Rivian has another fun trick up its sleeve, and this is something that everyone can appreciate. Nobody likes thieves, so every Rivian R1T truck comes with a unique “Gear Guard” security system.
With the R1T, Rivian gives owners a braided steel cable to secure items in the back of the truck or on the roof. This cable wraps around your valuables and connects to a locking point near the air compressor mount. Once you lock the truck, the cable will click into place.
As you walk away, five of the vehicle’s eleven cameras keep a close eye on your truck and the goods in the back. If someone tampers with the cable, they’ll start recording, alert you through the app, and even a small animated character will appear on the infotainment screen, letting thieves know they’re being recorded.
Basically, the truck comes with an included bike (or gear) locking system to give you peace of mind when you’re out and about.
These are just some of the many outstanding and creative features of the first true electric truck available in the United States. By now you probably want one. However, the company has over 80,000 reservations to fill, so inventory will likely be limited for the next 12-18 months. Good luck finding one.