On Sept. 22 I started test-driving a forest-green R1T pickup from Rivian Automotive LLC, an electric-car maker based in Plymouth, Mich., that anticipates an $80 billion initial public offering this fall. Over three days, I crossed the Continental Divide on paved switchbacks and scaled dusty peaks near a family of fluffy mountain goats. I drove 200 highway miles round trip between Denver and Breckenridge, Colo., and can attest that the R1T is quick. Its 800-plus horsepower and 900 pound-feet of torque from four electric motors easily pushed it to 100 mph; its three-second reported sprint time certainly felt legit.
The people who make this truck, led by Rivian founder and Chief Executive Officer RJ Scaringe, are campers at heart, and their truck feels as if they took notes over many back country climbing and biking trips, and then made a vehicle. The $5,000 two-burner camp kitchen option cooks a mean meal.
But there are some significant red flags. The discerning consumer would do well to pause to consider them before making a blind—and I do mean “blind,” as sales are restricted to online—purchase.
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