Rivian Secretly Using Ford F-150 Bodies as Electric Test Beds

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Rivian Ford F-150

Rivian co-founder and CEO reveals that a series of F-150 mules are roaming Detroit with electric power.

It’s no secret that electrification and full-size trucks will soon go hand-in-hand. Both Tesla and Rivian are in the process of developing all-electric pickups, in fact. And all major automotive manufacturers, including Ford, are at least working on hybrid versions of their cash cows. Michigan-based Rivian, in particular, is aiming high, hoping to take a bite out of the world’s best-selling pickup – the F-150. So much so that they’re actually using F-150 bodies to test out their electric “skateboards” around the Detroit Metro area.

Rivian’s co-founder and CEO, R.J. Scaringe, revealed that interesting little tidbit in a recent interview with the Detroit Free Press. “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. They’re all over the place, but nobody knows. We’re very quiet about that,” Scaringe said. Apparently, the F-150 wheelbase just so happens to be the perfect size for testing out Rivange’s batteries and other key components.

Rivian R1T

Scaringe may not have admitted it, but his company is also very much aiming directly at Ford’s venerable F-Series pickups. And why wouldn’t they? Here’s a truck that has dominated the market for over four decades, establishing itself as the clear leader of the pack. But if Rivian wants to build an electric pickup that’ll actually sell, they have to produce a no-compromise solution.

And by the sounds of things, that’s exactly what they’re promising. Rivian is aiming for its R1T pickup to have a 400-mile range when equipped with the long range battery pack. They’re also touting a 3.0-second 0-60 time and 11,000 pound tow rating, all with a luxurious interior.

Rivian R1T

The company is already taking preorders, and Scaringe claims they’ve already exceeded their goal in that regard. Now, the only question left to answer is will the R1T pickup actually pose a threat to the F-150? Or will it just compel some non-pickup buyers to take the plunge? We’ll find out soon enough.

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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