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Rivian R1S electric SUV launched in LA

New American electric car brand Rivian has revealed the R1S, a 7-seat SUV with around 750bhp.

Rivian has followed up the launch of its R1T electric pick-up truck earlier this week with the R1S SUV. Like it’s commercial vehicle cousin, the R1S is an all-electric offering that makes some impressive claims including a 3.0-second 0-60mph time and a maximum range of over 400 miles.

The new American EV manufacturer is making a play for a piece of the electric car market that Tesla has carved out for itself and which is only going to become more hotly contested in the coming months and years. The launch of its R1T truck at the 2018 LA Motor Show ahead of Tesla’s own much touted pick-up truck must be seen as a statement of intent but it’s this R1S SUV that will probably be of more interest to UK car buyers.

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Rivian’s 7-seat machine is a much closer match to luxury SUV models already sold here than the full-size US market pick-up truck and it promises off-road ability (evidenced by a 3-foot wading depth, underbody protection and a 30 degree departure angle) as well as brisk performance. 

Four electric motors, one on each wheel, generate around 754bhp and a total torque output that reads like a misprint at 1,119Nm. Those figures may well make owners feel like they could pull the moon out of its orbit given a long enough rope but Rivian only claims a 3,500kg towing capacity and an 800kg maximum payload for its machine. 

At 5,040mm long, the R1S measures up closely to models like Audi’s Q7 but the 2,015mm width is substantially larger than the 1,960mm Audi and even a little up on the 1,999mm Tesla Model X. It should all spell a roomy interior and images of the cabin show a minimalist button-free design with high quality materials and a digital instrument display.

Rivian says the R1S is available to pre-order now at a relatively modest starting price of $65,000 (£51,000), after the US government’s electric car tax rebate. As with the R1T truck, there will be a range of battery pack options that will impact the price with the top spec 180kWh pack needed to achieve the 420-mile maximum claimed range. Production isn’t due to start until 2020 with right hand-drive versions expected to be built a year later. 

What do you think of the Rivian R1S? Let us know in the comments....

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Head of digital content

Steve looks after the Auto Express website; planning new content, growing online traffic and managing the web team. He’s been a motoring journalist, road tester and editor for over 20 years, contributing to titles including MSN Cars, Auto Trader, The Scotsman and The Wall Street Journal.

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