In a remarkable feat of engineering and off-road prowess, Rivian’s R1S electric SUV has achieved an extraordinary milestone by becoming the first production electric vehicle to conquer the treacherous Rubicon Trail – a legendary proving ground for off-road vehicles.
Setting out on August 7th from the Loon Lake entrance near the California-Nevada border, Rivian’s test and development team embarked on an audacious journey that spanned roughly eight hours. Overcoming a 12-mile stretch of the rugged Rubicon Trail, the R1S showcased its mettle as it navigated steep inclines, rocky terrains, and imposing boulders to reach the Tahoma staging area.
What’s even more astonishing is that Rivian undertook this formidable challenge with a stock quad-motor R1S, equipped with 34-inch Pirelli all-terrain tires. Although the vehicle carried some additional equipment, including steel rock sliders, a roof rack, and front tow-hitch receivers, it’s crucial to note that this was no specialized off-road variant.
Starting its journey with an 80 percent state of charge (SoC), the R1S concluded the trail with “under 10 percent” of its remaining range, highlighting the considerable energy consumption of tackling such an arduous terrain. Rivian disclosed that the vehicle utilized around 75 percent of its total pack energy, analogous to consuming roughly three gallons of gasoline.
The Rubicon Trail, renowned for its formidable challenges, also presents an isolation factor. With mobile network coverage reaching only 0.1 percent of the route, communication primarily relies on radios. This setting underscores the significance of the R1S’s accomplishment, showcasing not only its remarkable off-road capability but also its resilience in remote conditions.
The trail mandates impeccable driving skills and precise vehicle control. Negotiating tight turns, handling off-camber sections, and maneuvering through intricate obstacles demand adept tire placement and rock crawling techniques.
Rivian’s pursuit of adventure is evident not only in the R1S’s trail-conquering capability but also in its design. With a maximum ground clearance of 14.9 inches and over three feet of water-fording capability, the R1S is built for extraordinary journeys. Its approach, departure, and breakover angles – 35.6, 34.3, and 29.6 degrees, respectively – underscore its prowess in navigating challenging terrains.
During this remarkable journey, the R1S wasn’t alone. Supported by two quad-motor pre-production R1T electric trucks and a modified Jeep Wrangler, Rivian demonstrated that its vehicles can tackle even the harshest conditions without mechanical setbacks. While the R1S sustained some “cosmetic bumps and scrapes,” there were no reported instances of mechanical damage or tire changes.
As Rivian’s production and deliveries gather momentum, these accomplishments reflect the brand’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of electric vehicle capabilities. In the first half of 2023, Rivian produced an impressive 23,387 EVs and delivered 20,586 units – a remarkable year-over-year increase of 236% and 262%, respectively. As Rivian continues to make history in the EV landscape, the R1S’s Rubicon Trail triumph stands as a testament to the brand’s innovative spirit and its ability to redefine what electric vehicles can achieve.