Rivian First Mile Experience
13 Feb 2023
Back in mid-2021, I heard about an electric vehicle (EV) startup named “Rivian”, who piqued my curiosity, as they were building an exciting EV truck targeted towards off-road users, but was also a luxurious, sporty vehicle while on-road.
Rivian R1T in El Cap Granite
While many people are motivated by the ecological or “green” aspects of EVs, I was more attracted by the exceptionally conservative engineering of the R1T, and how thoroughly Rivian had “wrung” it out before bringing it to market: Driving it from Patagonia to Los Angeles, and driving it off-road from North Carolina to Oregon on the Trans-America trail.
I was also intrigued by the engineering personality of the MIT-educated founder of the company, RJ Scaringe, and his obsessive drive to do something new and interesting in the automotive world.
So, in October, 2021, I put down a deposit on a Rivian R1T truck that would be delivered at some indeterminate time in the next year or two.
Fast forward to January, 2023: I finally hear back from Rivian indicating that I had been assigned a VIN for a truck and that I should expect delivery within 6-8 weeks.
At this point, I got in touch with Rivian and indicated that all of this was all well and good, but that I had yet to see the vehicle in person, much less drive it, and I wanted to arrange for a “First Mile” experience before plunking down the rest of the not insubstantial price for this vehicle.
This is Rivian’s marketing term for a test drive, and it gets complicated. I live in Washington state, and apparently, in order to give people a test drive in Washington, you need to be a licensed dealer, which Rivian is not.
So I was given the option to go to Portland, OR to have my test drive. I looked at the maps, and noted that going to Portland would likely be an overnight trip for me, at the least, and that Rivian had just opened their first “Service Center” in Canada, in Vancouver, scarcely 100 miles away from me.
So, I asked if I could take the test drive there, and Rivian said they could arrange it.
My wife and I got on the ferry, went over to Anacortes, WA and drove up to Vancouver, BC for a very pleasant day:
Backseat photographer, jowled driver
It took a few minutes to get used to the “one pedal” driving mode where braking is done by the electric motors regenerating electricity and feeding it back into the batteries. Once you are used to it, it is very easy to drive without touching the brake pedal, unless an emergency arises.
My wife testing the “Gear Tunnel” door/step
Our Rivian guide took us through many scenic parts of downtown Vancouver and across the Lion’s Gate Bridge over to West Vancouver.
Front quarter view
I found that the truck felt very solid and heavy, which makes sense, because of all of the batteries, this truck weighs as much as a 3/4 or 1 ton truck.
However, the massive horsepower overwhelms this weight and the truck can scoot around like a sports car if you push it.
The verdict is in
When we went back to the Rivian office, we got to see one in the color I had ordered.
Our chosen color, Glacier White
The end of a successful visit to Rivian in Vancouver