Making History: Rivian R1S the First Production EV to Conquer the Rubicon Trail
The landscape of EV vehicles is rapidly changing. From city streets to rugged terrains, they are proving their mettle in every aspect of driving. Rivian’s all-electric R1S SUV has now achieved a remarkable feat by conquering the legendary and difficult Rubicon Trail. This accomplishment not only strengthens Rivian’s foothold in the EV market but also underscores the potential of electric vehicles in off-road conditions.
The Rubicon Trail, a 12-mile-long pathway, is one of the most grueling off-road terrains in the United States. It is a true test for any vehicle, demanding specialized equipment, expertise, and the utmost resilience. The trail is a magnet for off-road enthusiasts, with its stunning views, swimming areas, and challenging rock-crawling spots. Its formidable reputation has even led Jeep to name its most hard-core Wrangler model after it.
The Rivian R1S, a Quad-Motor electric SUV, began its Rubicon adventure on August 7th. Starting from the Loon Lake entrance at 7:45 am, the vehicle completed the trail by August 9th at 3:30 pm, taking roughly two days to navigate the demanding terrain.
The R1S was a stock vehicle with 34-inch Pirelli all-terrain tires. Additional modifications included steel rock sliders, front tow hitch receivers, and a roof rack, all essential for managing the rough and often unpredictable trail.
The R1S started the Rubicon journey with approximately 80% charge. It consumed nearly 70% of its total pack energy throughout the two-day trip. By the trail’s end, the vehicle had less than 10% charge left, just enough to reach a nearby level 2 charger.
The R1S was backed by two pre-production Quad-Motor R1T electric trucks from Rivian’s test and development fleet throughout the journey. After the initial leg of the trip, a modified Jeep Wrangler took over as the support vehicle.
During the journey, the R1S did not encounter mechanical failures or tire changes, proving the resilience of EV vehicles in demanding conditions. Despite some minor cosmetic damage, the electric SUV performed exceptionally, marking a significant milestone in the EV industry.
This achievement is not just a win for Rivian but also sets a benchmark for the electric vehicle industry, demonstrating their capability in off-road conditions. Matt Trainham, Rivian’s Director of Vehicle Testing, expressed his optimism about the future of sustainable off-roading following the successful run. He believes the R1S’s achievement shows the potential for a more environment-friendly approach to off-roading.
The accomplishment of the R1S was noted by Chris Bassett, Director of the Rubicon Trail Foundation. He recognized the R1S as the first fully-EV vehicle to complete the trail, distinguishing it as a notable achievement, particularly given that it was accomplished on stock tires.
This successful Rubicon Trail run also has implications for upcoming EV models, particularly for Jeep’s Recon, an off-road EV slated for next year. Claimed to be Rubicon-ready from the factory, it now has a legacy to uphold and a rival to outperform.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Quad-Motor was the first powertrain used in Rivian vehicles. Since then, Rivian has introduced its in-house “Enduro” Dual-Motor drive units. The automaker now offers three powertrain options: Dual-Motor, Dual-Motor Performance, and Quad-Motor. The Performance version delivers 665 hp and 829 lb-ft of torque at its peak, while the quad-motor offers 835 hp and 908 lb torque.
The successful Rubicon run by Rivian’s R1S has opened up new horizons for EV vehicles. It showcases their resilience, versatility, and potential in navigating the most challenging terrains. The accomplishment inspires other EV makers and is a benchmark for future off-road EVs. As we move towards a more sustainable future, it’s clear that EV vehicles are not just city-friendly alternatives but capable of much more.