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Exclusive: Rivian R1T dual-cab ute and R1S seven-seat SUV spotted in Australia


Two of the most highly anticipated electric vehicles in development have been spotted in Australia suggesting that Rivan is preparing for local launch.

The Rivian R1T dual-cab ute and the R1S large SUV have been spotted at a Sydney airport this week ahead of a rumoured release in Australia.

In the pictures obtained exclusively by Chasing Cars the all-electric ute and related SUV can be seen loaded on transport trolleys and hiding under the cover of darkness.

Rivian R1S side 2022 new watermark
The Rivian R1S seven-seat SUV and R1T ute have been spotted at Sydney airport

The seven-seat R1S is seen wrapped in subtle camouflage but with the exterior still dotted in the correct badging and no attempts to hide its trademark features its identity is quite obvious.

Eagle-eyed readers will also spot the Illinois licence plate, suggesting the pair were flown over from Rivian’s plant in the U.S. for local testing.

By contrast, the R1T dual-cab ute is completely uncovered suggesting it was not expecting to be seen so early on in the transport process. Both are notably built-in left-hand drive.

The yet to be released Rivian models could be undergoing testing for the Australian market

As far back as 2019, Rivian has expressed interest in Australia with CEO RJ Scaring tweeting that “Australia is an important market for us” shortly after receiving a huge investment from Amazon.

While in the U.S. there are multiple electric utes in the works such as the GMC Hummer and Ford F-150 Lightning those vehicles have not been confirmed for Australia and the Tesla Cybertruck has been struck by multiple delays.

Earlier this year the company confirmed it was expanding to the European market in 2022 and will launch its R1T ute in the United States this September.

Importantly for Australia, Rivian will also sell its models in the U.K. so it would already be building a right-hand drive model which could be shared with Australia.

Rivian R1S interior 2022 new watermark
From the pictures, it appears both are left-hand drive models though right-hook versions are a possibility

The Rivian R1T and R1S in summary

The R1T and R1S sit on the same skateboard-style platform with quad motors allowing each wheel to operate independently, a feature that can not only assist off road capability but also on-road dynamics.

An impressive 310kW of power and 560Nm of torque is produced by the front motors and 313kW/671Nm by the rear, which is enough for both the R1T and R1S to accelerate from 0-60mph (97km/h) in under three seconds.

Rivian R1T 2022 side watermarked
The Rivian R1T sits on a shared platform that utilises a quad motor system and a huge battery

The R1T ute will be capable of driving 644km on a single charge while the R1S is currently limited to a still very respectable 483km range, though these figures are yet to be tested.

Both are capable of charging at speeds of up to 200kW which should make the Rivans more suited to road trips than some of its competition.

Being full-size American workhorses the Rivians are also built to tow. In fact, they can pull up to 5,000kg braked, though the company says to expect a 50 per cent range decrease if drivers are maxing out this capacity.

Rivian R1T 2022 front 3/4
With a 5,000kg braked towing capacity and all wheel drive the R1T looks to be quite a capable vehicle

The R1T features an array of storage including a front boot and large bed that hides a full-size spare wheel under the floor along with two 120V outlets for accessories.

A unique feature of the R1T is the ‘gear tunnel’ which provides an extra 311 litres of storage between the bed and the underfloor area behind the rear passenger compartment.

Rivian R1T 2022 gear tunnel
The ‘gear tunnel’ hides an extra 300 litres of storage in a place you wouldn’t expect

Measuring 1,923mm high, 5,514mm long and 2,078mm wide the Rivian R1T is around the same size as the Chevrolet Silverado so it’s quite a bit bigger than a Ford Ranger

The R1S SUV is slightly smaller in all dimensions apart from width but it’s still a huge vehicle.

With the latest evidence and previous hinting, the arrival of both Rivian models seems to be a matter of when not if, which is good news for EV fans in Australia.

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