The Big Electric Truck Battle Is Almost Here

The Rivian R1T and R1S — an electric truck and electric SUV respectively — that have been in the development for years now, were originally supposed to be delivered late this year. But the coronavirus pandemic — and perhaps some more normal delays — have now pushed delivery dates back into mid-2021.

Rivian said Friday that the R1T will come first, while the R1S will get here a couple months later.

The R1T is, to put it mildly, a pretty important vehicle not only for Rivian but also for Ford, which is using Rivian’s skateboard platform as the basis for the upcoming electric F-150. Pricing hasn’t been released, but the R1T is expected to cost somewhere north of $US60,000 ($84,450), probably more like $US75,000 ($105,563), and will be among the first fighters of the electric truck wars, with the Nikola Badger, that Lordstown Motors joint, the electric F-150, the Tesla Cybertruck, GMC Hummer, and the Bollinger B2 all also in the works.

That means in a lot of ways it’s a pretty exciting time to be alive if you’re interested in electric trucks, but also if you’re interested in merely watching a horse race. Because half of those trucks are made by companies that haven’t mass produced a vehicle before, let alone an electric truck, while one is coming from a company that has plenty of experience mass-producing internal combustion engine cars but not electric cars, while another has experience in both but hasn’t really done much with it. The other one is Tesla.

All of which is to say that some of these will definitely succeed, some will succeed a little, some will fail a little, and some will be outright disasters. I mean there are some obvious clues as to who might fall into what category (I will believe the Lordstown Motors thing and Nikola Badger are sucesses when I see it) but others all seem like, for now, they have a shot. We’ll have a much better idea this time next year.