Is the Rivian R1S a real threat to the Audi e-tron SUV?

Since its debut in September, there’s been a lot of buzz about the Audi e-tron SUV, the brand’s first all-electric SUV. And now, there’s a ton of buzz about the upcoming Audi e-tron GT Concept, which is debuting in just a few hours at the LA Auto Show. However, there’s another all-electric car that’s going to debut at the LA Auto Show and it’s flying a bit more under the radar but it shouldn’t be. It’s the Rivian R1S.

Never heard of Rivian? Well, it’s an American electric car startup that’s debuting its first two vehicles in LA, the R1S and R1T. The former is an all-electric SUV that seems like it can seriously threaten the Audi e-tron SUV when it finally hits the road. The latter is an all-electric pickup truck which, while very impressive, doesn’t directly compete with any Audi. So we’re going to focus on the R1S.

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On specs alone, the Rivian R1S is probably more impressive than any other electric vehicle we’ve ever seen. It’s built on a sort of ladder-frame chassis, like a normal pickup truck or truck-based SUV would be, but the flat floor is comprised of batteries. Those batteries feed power to four electric motors, one at each wheel, giving it real-time, torque-vectoring four-wheel drive.

According to Rivian, the R1S is a properly capable off-road vehicle, with up to three feet of wading depth. Not only that, its quad-motor powertrain combines to make 750 hp, getting the R1S from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds. Also, depending on battery size, the R1S can reach anywhere betwen 260-400 miles of range. That’s remarkable.

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And it looks good, too. It looks completely unique, futuristic but also normal enough to look at home in traffic. On the inside, it features rich technology, a luxurious cabin and tons of storage space and practicality.

It’s not going to be cheap, though. Being a new company with a ton of expensive technology, the car’s are going to be expensive. But it’s not too bad. It starts at $65,000, which actually undercuts the Audi e-tron, but can crest six-figures, depending on battery size and options.

Not many electric car startups ever actually amount to anything. But for some reason Rivian seems like it can break the mold. If so, the Audi e-tron, Tesla Model X, BMW iX3 and Mercedes-Benz EQC will all be in a lot of trouble.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.