Green Technology

Rivian SUV Owner Shares First Impressions

Darrell Woo has previously shared with us about his Teslas and his father’s Ioniq 5. He also uploads a lot of videos about EVs on his YouTube channel. Recently, he replaced his Model Y with a Rivian SUV. It seemed like a good opportunity to get some inside information on this intriguing EV, so I reached out to him and he shared his first impressions below.

First, here is a quick R1S snapshot:

  • All-electric SUV
  • Three seat rows
  • 260 miles of range for the standard battery pack, over 300 for the larger optional pack
  • Large frunk and rear cargo area
  • Prices — $79,800 and up
  • 0–60 mph in about 3.1 seconds with the quad motor powertrain
  • Weight: a little over 7,000 pounds

Why did you choose to get the Rivian?

They are very similar to Tesla in a lot of ways, from the direct to consumer model to their own charging network. I’m confident this company will make it because they have products that nobody else in the market is offering right now. Currently they are selling every SUV they can build and have a backlog well into 2024. And even if they do start to stutter, they are Amazon backed, so they would probably jump in and buy Rivian if it came down to that.

Did you consider similar EVs such as the Tesla Model X?

We did. But since we’ve had this preorder in since July 2021, my final price was quite a bit cheaper than today’s pricing. Furthermore, the Model X was still more expensive than today’s Rivian pricing and really not much bigger than a Model Y. We were looking for a true SUV, not an oversized crossover.

Was there a federal tax credit available? Any California incentive?

Because we ordered so early, we were able to take advantage of the “old” EV federal credit for car companies who hadn’t sold 200,000 units. We were unfortunately not able to take advantage of any CA credits or rebates though.

Which version of the Rivian did you get and how much horsepower does it have?

Currently only quad motor R1Ts and R1Ss are available. The quad motor variants have about 835 HP and about 900 ft. lb of torque. That’ll shoot you to 0–60 in 3 seconds! In a 7,000+lb SUV!

How long have you had it and what do you like about it so far?

We took delivery a little over 3 weeks ago. The size and storage space. Tons of room in the hatch for our 2 dogs plus gear. And a huge additional space in the frunk for even more storage. No joke, a full size adult would be able to fit into the frunk. That’s how big it is.

How spacious is the frunk?

There is actual usage room to store a ton of stuff. Not just 2 grocery bags or a pizza, haha. I believe it’s measured out to 11 cu ft.

How spacious is the interior compared to your Teslas?

Huge. To be fair, the Model Y was comfortable as a 5 seater. Nothing wrong with it. But the R1S has a ton more space and you can fit 7 adults in the car with no problems. The 3rd row is plenty big enough for any adult on a long road trip. Unfortunately, if you have a 7-seater Model Y, you can’t say the same.

Image Credit: Darrell Woo

How are the handling and build quality?

Handling and build quality are excellent. No crazy panel gaps. Car handles great for an SUV. Tesla owners would need to understand that this is not a crossover on a car chassis, but a full on SUV built on a truck platform (body on frame). So the car is not going to be as nimble. But it also has much more room, so there’s that.

What is the vehicle’s warranty?

As with many things Rivian, it is pretty similar to Tesla. 5 year bumper to bumper or 60,000 miles. 8 year battery pack and drivetrain or 175,000 miles. 8 year body corrosion warranty as well.

Did you need to get a different home charger?

No. Although the NEMA 14-50 only gets you 15 MPH on a Rivian, we don’t drive that much. So it’s totally fine for us. However, you may want to upgrade to a 48A on 60A breaker charger like the Rivian wall charger or Tesla wall charger. It depends on your situation and how much you drive. An average commute would still be fine on a NEMA 14-50 if charged every night. I’m considering getting a Tesla wall charger (J1772 version) just for fun for the coolness factor, but we’ll see.

Where do you charge the Rivian outside of your home?

Right now I’d have to use Electrify America for DCFC (Rivian DCFC aren’t in our area yet). However, the cherry on top of me was that Rivian will be jumping to the Tesla plug/network next spring. So once the SC network is open to Rivian, I plan on using that solely for DCFC. Rivian has announced that for us early adopters that have J1772/CCS charge ports, they will provide us adapters to charge on Tesla’s network for free.


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