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Rivian CEO shows off R1T electric pickup climbing hills in Arizona

Rivian boss RJ Scaringe shared a few videos of the company’s upcoming R1T electric pickup testing off-road in the hills of Arizona as the EV startup inches closer to its 2021 on-sale date. The videos show the R1T tackling some steep, loose grades and slippery terrain. 

The most jarring thing about the clips, perhaps, is just how quiet they are. Now, these trucks aren’t exactly tackling the Rubicon, but climbing hills covered in loose stone is still a messy affair. It’s just not every day that the only thing you hear in such a clip is the sound of stone crunching under tires. Without the grunt of a gasoline engine at the center of the experience, it all seems oddly peaceful. 

The R1T prototype is fitted with a set of Pirelli Scorpion A/Ts engineered specifically for Rivian. As The Drive points out, they aren’t nearly as aggressive-looking as the tires fitted to some of today’s high-performance pickups, but they’re clearly getting the job done here. Why not take something off-the-shelf? Well, it’s an EV after all, and as critical as performance might be off the road, having all the knobs in the world won’t help you preserve your electric range. In fact, it tends to do the opposite. The solution?

“In this case, the challenge to create a dedicated version of these tires for Rivian has been to match their low rolling resistance targets with the off-road applications of the Scorpion All Terrain,” Pirelli said. “To achieve this result, Pirelli’s engineers designed a dedicated mold in order to reduce the weight of the tire, adding then a special compound for light trucks that made the tires more resistant to cuts and lacerations.”

They’re even snow-rated (3PMSF) to boot, which means that this video Scaringe tweeted a couple weeks back of the trucks climbing a snowy hill would have featured the trucks on the same rubber. No swap necessary. 

Rivian says it is on track to deliver the first R1T pickups in June. Earlier this year, the company announced it plans to open 10 showrooms in 2021, including one in Laguna Beach, Calif., and one in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood. We expect to learn the locations of the rest before go-time. 

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