Last year, a new American auto manufacturer named Rivian released the first electric truck, the exciting Rivian R1T. It’s an adventure vehicle with a unique design, plenty of power, and a lot to love.
At first glance, the R1T looks like a typical mid-size 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, go from 0-60 mph in about three seconds, yet can tow upwards of 11,000 lbs.
The Rivian R1T features a variable-height suspension system that adjusts on the fly for improved ground clearance offroading or improved range efficiency on the road. As you can see, it does a little of everything, but that’s not all.
If you just bought the Rivian R1T, are considering grabbing one over the F-150 Lightning, or don’t want to wait for the Cybertruck, here are some of the top Rivian R1T features.
The Gear Tunnel
There aren’t as many parts or drivetrains everywhere with an electric vehicle, allowing the company to create some ingenious storage options. Perhaps my favorite Rivian R1T feature is what the company calls the gear tunnel.
Behind the rear passenger doors is a storage tunnel accessible from both sides of the truck. You can even access it from inside the cabin. This has a carpet-lined interior to keep things safe, strap points, and you’ll find both a 110-volt and 12-volt outlet for charging up your gear.
The company says this tunnel can hold upwards of 200 lbs worth of stuff and even plans to sell an epic camp kitchen designed specifically for the gear tunnel. This storage space is so big that you can find videos all over YouTube of full-grown adults climbing through it.
Storage options are everywhere inside and outside of this truck. We’re talking about the front trunk (aka Frunk), the middle console, a fold-out storage tray on the front of the driver’s seat, cargo storage under and behind the rear seats, the gear tunnel, and even storage in the bed.
While many EVs don’t come with a spare tire, the Rivian R1T does. It’s not under the truck either, meaning you won’t have to get dirty to handle a flat tire. Instead, it’s located in a storage compartment inside the truck’s bed. And if you don’t think you’ll need the spare, it’s easily removable, allowing owners to use that space as one more storage area.
When trying to compete with established auto manufacturers and EV brands like Tesla, adding a few extra goodies is always a good thing. Plus, Rivian calls this an “adventure vehicle,” so it only makes sense that the company tossed in some neat accessories that every truck owner and outdoor enthusiast will love.
For starters, there’s a durable aluminum flashlight built into the driver-side door. Yes, it’s always charged up thanks to wireless charging, and it utilizes one of the over 7,700 battery cells inside the vehicle. Similar to those umbrella spots on fancy luxury cars, the Rivian comes with something far more helpful, a 1,000-lumen flashlight.
Bluetooth Camp Speaker & Lantern
Rivian didn’t stop with a flashlight, either. Each truck also comes with a removable Bluetooth speaker and camp lantern located inside the truck under the middle console.
Thanks to wireless charging in the cubby, it’s always charged and ready to go. When you’re sitting around a campfire, at the beach, or want some tunes while working in the garage, pull it out and blast the beats. The bottom trim has multiple “soft glow” LEDs that give off a warm campfire glow. It’s the perfect camp light accessory and lasts for over six hours per charge.
While Rivian has been talking about this feature since 2018, many people may not realize it’s an actual thing. Like the new Hummer EV offering crab walk mode, the Rivian R1T has active 4-way steering, which means the front wheels can turn left while the rear wheels aim right. As a result, it can do a complete 180 or 360 while standing still.
Imagine going offroading but getting stuck at an obstacle you can’t pass, yet there’s no room to turn around easily. Just enable tank turn, crank the wheels, and rotate the car in place until it’s facing the other direction. The video above should show you all you need to know.
It sounds like one of those novelty features just to get attention, but as an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast myself, this is one of those features I wish my Toyota Tacoma had. It’ll get you out of a sticky situation, that’s for sure.
The Front Lightbar Is Also a Charging Indicator
While the front of the Rivian R1T is likely the most controversial part of the design, it does have some great aspects. For example, the large lightbar between the main headlights doubles as a visual charging indicator while the vehicle is topping off the batteries.
Instead of having to dig out your smartphone and open the app to see how charged up the battery is, just glance at the front light. It starts off red, has a charging animation, and once the battery is full enough, it’ll switch to green, letting you know the truck is ready to roll.
Built-in Air Compressor
No one likes dealing with a low or flat tire, especially while sitting at a campsite or out in the wilderness. Thankfully, Rivian thought of that too. The R1T utilizes air suspension to raise and lower the truck, and in a smart move, Rivian will also let owners tap into that tank and use it as an air compressor.
In the truck’s bed, where there are some lights and power outlets, you’ll also find an attachment for the included air hose. Simply hook it up and add air to a low tire, or blow debris out of the truck bed. Additionally, many off-roaders air down the tires for a smoother ride and improved traction, and this way, you can air back up after you reach the destination or are ready to head home. We like that you can set the desired tire PSI, too, and it’ll stop automatically.
Carabiner Key Fob
It’s a minor feature, but it’s still a feature. These days most cars come with a touch start button, so all you’ll get is a key fob for unlocking the doors and such. Instead of your typical boring key fob, the Rivian R1T fob is a durable aluminum carabiner. You can attach it to a belt loop or water bottle, or hook it to your go-bag, ensuring it’s always safe.
A carabiner is also easier to quickly remove from a keychain and hand to someone, rather than a typical keyring that destroys your fingernails. Plus, Rivian says the key fob is waterproof, too, so it’ll handle your outdoor adventures as well as the truck will. And if you don’t want to carry around your key, you can always use your phone to unlock the car.
Gear Guard Cable & Camera System
And lastly, Rivian has another neat trick up its sleeve, and this is something everyone can appreciate. No one likes thieves, so each 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 bed of the truck or on the roof. This cable wraps around your valuables and connects to a locking point near the air compressor attachment. Once you lock the truck, the cable locks into place.
Once you walk away, five of the vehicle’s 11 cameras keep a watchful eye on your truck and the goods in the back. If anyone messes around with the cable, they’ll start recording, alert you via the app, and even a little animated character will show up on the infotainment display, letting thieves know they’re being recorded.
Basically, the truck comes with an included bike (or gear) lock system to give you peace of mind when you’re out and about.
These are just a few of the many excellent and creative features of the first proper electric truck available in the United States. By now, you probably want one. However, the company has over 80,000 reservations it needs to fill, so inventory will likely remain limited for the next 12-18 months. Good luck finding one.