Electric Truck-Maker Using F-150 Bodies for Drivetrain Testing
Rivian is testing electric trucks around their headquarters in Michigan under the guise of Ford F-150 pickups.
While it is expected that Ford will soon introduce a hybrid F-150, most electric vehicle companies have avoided the consumer truck market. Rivian looks to change that when their R1T pickup arrives late in 2020, but in the meantime, they need to test their all-electric, high-performance pickups without being hassled by spy photographers.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the Michigan-based company has found that certain Ford F-150 bodies fit on the company’s “skateboard” chassis, allowing them to test their drivetrains in plain sight without any camouflage, making these test trucks nearly impossible to detect.
An Electric “F-150”
Although there is no connection between Ford Motor Company and Rivian, the electric automaker found that the bodies of certain F-150 pickups perfectly fits on the company’s “skateboard” chassis. This unit carries the batteries and all other components of the R1T’s drivetrain, including an individual electric motor mounted at each wheel.
“We need something to keep the weather out while we put a lot of miles on our skateboard, so they’re driving around in Detroit right now, too,” said Rivian founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe. “They’re all over the place, but nobody knows. We’re very quiet about that.”
788 Horsepower, 400 Miles
Rivian’s drivetrain combines the 197-horsepower output from the four motors to offer a total system output of 788 horsepower, allowing the truck to sprint from a stop to 60 miles per hour in just three seconds with their mid-level battery package. Buyers who opt for the largest battery package can expect slightly reduced performance, but they could see 400 miles of all-electric range in the proper conditions.
Also, the Rivian R1T is built to perform like a proper truck, with a real cargo box and a ride height that will afford it solid off-road capabilities. At the same time, those who don’t plan to haul any cargo will be able to add a plug-in extended battery that will increase range even further.
Rivian expects pricing of their electric pickup to start at $69,000, not including any local or federal tax credits, so while it will cost more than the average pickup, it will cost less than the less-capable models from Tesla.
Given all this, we must admit we are intrigued. But we’ll probably wait to see what EV and hybrid options Ford will deliver.