By Steve & Tamami Laser
Over the years, we’ve spotted a variety of prototype vehicles on the streets of Southern California. Sometimes we get lucky, and have the chance to take a quick photo, or rarely, make a video, like our previous encounter with a camouflaged Acura. This time it was different. We discovered an unusual vehicle parked on a local street, and decided to take a closer look.
We were on the way to the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, when we saw this SUV, covered with a dizzy-pattern body wrap.
“Wow, look at that!,” said our editor. “I think that’s a Rivian!”
“Really? How can you tell?” asked our managing editor.
“The vertical headlights give it away,” he said.
After quickly parking their Honda, our editor made a beeline for the SUV.
He noticed the “R-I-V-I-A-N” script on the tailgate, along with an “R1S” badge, and Illinois manufacturer license plates.
Then, as any auto journalist would do, he took out his trusty iPhone and started making photos and video clips of his chance encounter.
This video, from the CarNichiWa.com YouTube channel, offers a closer look at the Rivian R1S prototype that our intrepid editor spotted on a street near the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. (video © CarNichiWa.com)
Looking inside, from the front passenger’s window, he spotted a beautifully trimmed cabin, including “Rivian” badges on the front seatbacks, a large infotainment screen in the center of the dash, and three rows of seats.
Since the driver of the Rivian was nowhere to be found, our editor wrapped up his quick walkaround and joined his better half for lunch at the resort.
“So, tell me about it, what do you think?” she asked.
“Well, it’s a lot bigger than a Tesla,” he said. “I like the size, the style of the cabin, and the fact that Tesla is going to have some serious competition very soon. But I need to do some research. I thought the first Rivian is going to be a pickup? This SUV looks pretty close to production to me.”
We expect to encounter many more Rivian all-electric vehicles on the road in the near future, including the R1S SUV, and R1T pickup, in the months ahead. Yet we’ll never forget our first look.
Rivian Offers Three R1S All-Electric SUV Models
After returning home, our editor searched the web for more information. One of the best sources is the Rivian.com website, that also includes a media newsroom. Plenty of info is available, including preliminary product details.
Rivian says the R1S is 202 inches long, 72 in. high, 81.8 in. wide, and rides on a 121 in. wheelbase. That makes it larger than a Tesla Model X, and even bigger than a Ford Explorer. There’s a trunk up front with 11.0 cu. ft. of space, the 7-passenger interior has up to 108 cu. ft. of storage, and the independent air suspension is adjustable, offering from 8.1 to 14.2-in. of ground clearance.
Three upcoming R1S production models are listed on the website, including the Launch Edition, Adventure, and Explore trims. Rivian says that a “300+ mile large pack” battery is standard on all three, while a 250+ mile and longer range R1S are also planned. (Ranges are estimates pending official EPA ratings). The quad-motor electric powertrain is said to offer 415 hp and 413 lb.-ft. of torque for the front dual-motor, and 420 hp and 495 lb.-ft. for the rear dual motor.
What about prices and availability? The website says that the R1S Launch Edition starts at an MSRP of $75,000, however, it also says that reservations are “full.” Meanwhile, the Adventure trim has a comparable starting price, while the Explore is said to start at $70,000. Estimated deliveries for these two trims are stated to begin in Jan. 2022.
Note: The prototype vehicle shown in this story and video was spotted during a chance encounter on a public road.
Note: Preliminary product information, specifications, prices, and launch timing for future U.S. market models sourced from the manufacturer’s website is subject to change without notice.
Story, photos and video © 2021 CarNichiWa.com