Why So Many People Are Happily On the Waitlist for Their Rivian R1T Electric Pickup Truck

Rivian owners love their R1T pickups, so we had to find out why these hikers, surfers and campers are happy to wait, and customize this iconic electric pickup truck.

The Non-Polluting Rivian R1T Suits The Surfer'S Environmental Considerations. Photo: Kymri Wilt
The non-polluting Rivian R1T suits the surfer's environmental considerations. Photo: Kymri Wilt

And why those who got theirs are so happy to tell you about it.

Whenever I pull up to a surf break, a trailhead, or even a street in my own neighborhood, invariably, there are pickup trucks. I never really gave them a second thought. I was not interested due to typically low fuel economy and probably too much power for my day-to-day driving.

And then, I started seeing a very distinctive and different face of a truck, the Rivian R1T. This is the pick-up truck for folks with a solid respect for nature and the environment, who have a taste for adventure and love the newest tech-driven thing.

When I learned a bit more, I decided the fully electric Rivian R1T was worth a look. After all, my surfing and outdoorsy neighbors and peers are already driving Rivians; would it be a good candidate for my lifestyle, too?

Related: Everything You Want to Know about the Rivian R1S

Spotted At San Onofre - A Rivian R1T With Surf Racks And Camp Gear! Photo: Kymri Wilt

Spotted at San Onofre – a Rivian R1T with surf racks and camp gear! Photo: Kymri Wilt

Ravenous for Rivian – Reserve and Wait

The Rivian R1T I drove for review purposes was a 2022 model. Why not 2023? Well, the demand is so high that there’s actually a waitlist to get into a new model! For an R1T pickup truck like I drove, expect to wait 14-30 days from ordering/customizing to delivery. For the R1S (the SUV version), reserve now for delivery in 2024. Yes, they are in high demand! So if you’re a truck-or-bust enthusiast and you’re ready for more power, less fuel (how about none?), and a versatile vehicle that masters all types of terrain and conditions, you’d better get yourself on the waitlist for the Rivian R1T now. You’ll be so glad you did.

As I was driving the Rivian, it was a definite conversation piece. Those who knew it, knew it well – owners couldn’t wait to show me how they customized their Rivian pickup, and waitlisters were counting down the weeks until delivery. I met as many people who were already waitlisted for a Rivian as I did existing Rivian owners. And everyone shared an enthusiasm for absolutely loving this truck. I was quickly learning why.

Here’s a rundown of the model I test drove. The total price was $89,500, including these added package features:

  • Quad Motor- yes, quad, with one motor for each wheel: $6,000
  • Large Battery Pack: $6,000
  • 22” Sport Bright Wheels: $2500
  • Reinforced Underbody Shield: $2000
  • Available Manual Tonneau Cover: $1,800 (not included in price above)

The exterior color of my truck was LA Silver, and the interior was Black Mountain. Of course, when you order one, you can customize it to your desire, choosing your colors and upgrades. The colors are inspired by nature, like Forest Green, Limestone, Red Canyon, Glacier White, El Cap Granite… and an eye-popping Rivian Blue that echoes the ocean waters.

Lillian Macaruso Competed In The Rebelle Rally In The All-Electric Rivian R1T. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Lillian Macaruso competed in the Rebelle Rally in the all-electric Rivian R1T. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Even the Baseline is Powerful

The standard Dual-Motor AWD is really all you need for everyday driving, with an estimated range of 270 miles, 600hp, and drive modes: All Purpose, All Terrain, Snow, and Towing. Performance Dual Motor adds a Sport Mode, and a bit more HP and torque. But if you are an adventurer and looking for even more power (835HP), the Quad Motor AWD is your everything, with additional drive modes of Rally, Drift, Rock Crawl, Soft Sand, and Conserve. Plus it’s fast, said to go 0-60 in 3.0 seconds; need I say more? This Quad Motor  version is a BEAST.

Related: Why the BMW XM is such an Elegant Animal

Charging Options Everywhere For The Rivian R1T. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Charging options are everywhere for the Rivian R1T. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Ease of Charge Means Reduced “Range Anxiety”

The standard battery pack gives you a range of about 270 miles fully charged. The Rivian I drove had a large battery pack and was at 350 miles fully charged. There is a Max battery available that extends the range another 50 miles. So when you’re ready to take to the road, you can do so with peace of mind, able to go a nice distance before having to finding a charger.

Sometimes, it’s not just a matter of finding a public charger but then having to wait your turn. Like Tesla, Rivian has a dedicated network of fast chargers, and since the Rivian is equipped with the CCS plug, you can also access 3rd party public charging stations. Just enter your destination into the navigation, and your route will show charging stations along the way.

Built in the navigation are Rivian Adventure stations, Rivian Waypoints, plus over 10,000 public Level 2 networks and DC Fast Chargers. And just recently, Rivian announced that they will be able to access Tesla’s supercharger network as well. That’s huge. That means Rivian drivers can charge up at just about every possible charging network across the country.

At home – The Rivian comes with a portable charger that can plug into 120-volt or 240-volt outlets, so you can charge in your driveway or garage. With the 240 volt, you can even plug in at a campsite with electric hookups. I found that to be a perfect solution when I wanted to camp close to the surf break I was headed to in the morning. I didn’t have to waste any time at a public charger.

I Freaking Love The Frunk For Storing My Surf Box And Suitcases! Photo: Kymri Wilt

I freaking LOVE the frunk for storing my surf box and suitcases! Photo: Kymri Wilt

Camping and Surfing: Storage Beyond the Truck Bed

Because the Rivian is all-electric, there is no fuel tank, and that leaves a lot of room for a lot of other things. We’re talking over 62 cubic feet of storage – the truck bed is just the beginning. Beneath the truck bed is a storage bin that holds a spare tire – a rarity in today’s cars but a necessity if you’re going off road. From the front trunk (“frunk”) to the  ‘gear tunnel’ under the rear seats to a spacious center console, there is absolutely no need or reason to have anything on the seats except passengers; there’s a place for it all.

I loved camping with the Rivian. When you park and select “camping” from the menu, the truck will level itself even if the ground you are parked on is not level. Then, after dark, there is floodlighting from under the rearview mirrors to light your camp area. The gear tunnel is the perfect nook for a cooler, and when the gear tunnel door is down, it makes a sturdy seat or table.

Surfboards, depending on length, will more often extend out beyond the back hatch of the truck bed – Rivian surfer owner get surf racks, but my model didn’t have them, so boards went in the bed, secured with bungees and plenty of hooks for tie downs. Additionally, Rivian comes with a heavy-duty strap that locks into the side of the truck bed, so you can secure gear like boards and bicycles and leave them locked in the truck without concern of theft.

Rivian'S Cabin Climate Control Keeps Pets Safe And Comfortable In Cab. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Rivian’s cabin climate control keeps pets safe and comfortable in the cab. Photo: Kymri Wilt

The Rivian R1T is a Definite Pet-pleaser

Not only did my dog Bo enjoy a smooth ride in the back seat of the cab, but he was quite happy to wait in the cab while I ran errands. As part of the central climate control menu, I could activate Pet Mode by tapping a paw icon. There, I could set a comfortable interior temperature to keep my dog safe.

When activated, upon locking up, a notice displays on the center console that “My pet is safe and comfy,” displaying interior/exterior temperatures so that passers-by don’t panic when they peer in. Bo napped comfortably in the cab during our longer drives and equally loved watching the surf with me from the truck bed!

Related: How to Keep Your Pets Happy in the Car

Camping Mode Levels The Rivian On Uneven Terrain, And Allows Lighting Options. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Camping mode levels the Rivian on uneven terrain and allows lighting options. Photo: Kymri Wilt

A Commanding Media Console

The touch-screen center console is the command center for anything you want to do. Navigate, change drive mode and adjust ride, climate control (including Pet Mode), audio selections, and more. It can be cumbersome to scroll through the multiple menus to find what you want to adjust, but voice command covers a lot, and the Alexa integration ties into your device and picks up the rest.

This video shows how to use Rivian’s multimedia system. 

The Rivian App Is A Game-Changer When It Comes To Charging And More. Photo: Kymri Wilt

The Rivian App is a game-changer when it comes to charging and more. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Rivian App and Smart Phone Interface

My review would not be complete without mentioning the Rivian App which I downloaded and used during my week with the R1T. Being able to check the charge status and range remotely was a game-changer. In addition to managing charging sessions, the app also allows you to do a lot more remotely, such as lock and unlock the truck, set the cabin climate, schedule service, and, thankfully, find where you parked your vehicle after a long day out.

Which, after returning to the parking lot after a day of surfing or a long hike, may come in handy to distinguish from your Rivian and the others that will no doubt be parked nearby. 

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Based in Cardiff by the Sea, California, Kymri is a freelance travel photographer, writer, and videographer. Between travels, she... More about Kymri WIlt