The New York International Auto Show is somewhat local to me (i.e., three hours via driving/train combo), so I was able to conveniently pop in for a bit during their media days last week and have a look around. That said, first on my list of automakers to find was Rivian with the goal of stocking up on plenty of great photos and learning a bit more than what I knew already from writing about their outdoor adventure vehicles.
Brian Gase, Body Engineering Director for the company, was kind enough to answer all my questions once I arrived at Rivian’s booth, and he even showed me the battery for the flashlight inside the R1T and R1S driver doors. It’s the same 2170 cell the company uses for its vehicles’ battery packs that are estimated to achieve about 400 miles of range.
In order to meet a 135 kWh capacity (the size of the R1S on the floor), Rivian’s batteries will contain 7,776 of the 2170 cells. If you include the extra battery in the flashlight, that makes a strong poker hand of quad 7’s (7,777) for total count. Pretty cool, right? (Thanks again, Brian for pointing that out to me.)
I'm exhausted, feet hurt, & nursing a migraine but… I got to meet Brian Gase, Chief Engineer at @Rivian and got some great pics of the R1T & R1S, incl the door flashlight I love. Lol. Thx!He humored me and gave a demo. 👐Now for some NYC gourmet b4 home for nap! #NYautoshow pic.twitter.com/gs5XfMNPGQ
— Dacia J. Ferris (@PrincessDeixa) April 18, 2019
Admittedly, I know there are plenty of very thought out features included in Rivian’s truck and SUV designs that should be given as much if not more accolades than the flashlight. For one, there’s the gear tunnel in the R1T that gets plenty of attention. While I was at the show, I overheard someone asking what could be stored in the long storage area behind the passengers that spans the width of the truck.
I thought Rivian’s answer to that was pretty creative, just like the tunnel itself. They had benches made into the shape of the gear tunnel with glass sides, all full with different types of gear one could fit inside. Funny enough, one of them was being used the entire time I was trying to take pictures (annoying, but no big deal and expected), so I came back later when they were all clear of resting show attendees. When I explained this to someone later, it was suggested to me that having a person on the bench was good for size referencing.
That’s true, actually. You can really see how much stuff can fit in the R1T gear tunnel once there’s a human providing proper perspective.
The gear tunnel in the R1T is both unique and a testament to one of the many advantages provided by battery electric vehicles, meaning there’s plenty of extra space to work with, and Rivian has taken full advantage in their designs.
The cabin of both vehicles is very spacious with plenty of legroom for passengers, storage is available underneath the back seats in the R1T, both frunks have impressive capacity, and there’s even a storage tray under the front seats of the R1S (not sure of the R1T), which I don’t think I’d seen before going to the show. Back at the gear tunnel, there’s another compartment in the door that can hold smaller items (like dog treats). The doors to the gear tunnel can additionally function as seats or stools to help load gear on the roof.
I was also happy to learn what the Flexible Crossbar System feature was all about. I mean, it’s one thing to read that feature listed on their website, but quite another to see what it does. Essentially, the cargo rack is expandable/collapsable, and it locks into specially designed places on the roof and truck bed. In all, there’s a place to stand while you plug in the easy-to-install luggage rack. Admittedly, I’m a bit lazy about using the roof of my car for road trip luggage space because it’s such a pain, and I know I’m not alone in my sentiments. From the look of it, it seems Rivian’s designers have met a few people like me, too.
My time at the Rivian booth of the New York International Auto Show was enjoyable and productive, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the company develops. Here are a few of my favorite shots of the R1T truck and R1S SUV.
More about the other electric/hybrid vehicles that were at the show coming soon!