Electric truck startup Rivian has had a big year, going public and unveiling a plan to make its own battery cells amid a global semiconductor shortage. Now, its R1T is the 2022 MotorTrend Truck of the Year. “It’s the most remarkable pickup truck we’ve ever seen,” MotorTrend said.
“The Rivian R1T would win praise if it were merely a credible pickup truck that is also an electric vehicle, but it’s far more. Not content to simply mount an electric motor or two under the hood or box of a traditional pickup, Rivian used the opportunity to re-examine what a modern pickup truck could be,” the editors wrote.
MotorTrend praised the R1T’s design, which blends traditional elements of a pickup with unique headlights that clearly identify it as an EV. The touchscreen control panel is not MotorTrend’s favorite thing about today’s style of EVs, but the editors admit that Rivian has done a nice job with the R1T’s, especially in integrating the trailer brake controller and steering wheel buttons.
“Sitting inside an R1T feels like being in a $70,000 vehicle regardless of what powers it, who builds it, or what body style it has,” MotorTrend editors wrote.
Rivian’s innovative use of space with a transverse gear tunnel and integrated tonneau cover also caught MotorTrend’s eye. Most interesting and innovative is the electric drive train that gives each wheel its own motor.
“Rivian is the first production vehicle to bring the concept to market, and it knocked it out of the park,” they wrote. “What’s truly remarkable, though, is that although Rivian clearly designed the R1T for play, at no point did its engineers skimp on the truck’s ability to work.”
The R1T joins Lucid Motors’ Air luxury sedan in making MotorTrend’s truck and car of the year both the products of EV startups.