Rivian’s Electric truck gets a new grill

Rivian, the electric truck startup that just received a big investment from Ford Motor Company, went to the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, Arizona to demonstrate just how flexible its RT1 pickup concept can be. Because the motors and batteries of Rivian’s “skateboard” platform all sit low in the vehicle, that frees up a lot of space for other things, like the full-scale slide-out camping kitchen featured in the RT1 on display at the semi-annual event.

The Overland Expo, now in its 10th year, is as if the folks behind SEMA, Burning Man, and TED Talks got together to put on an event for adventure travel enthusiasts. Attendees can choose amongst classes, roundtable discussions, demonstrations, and displays from over 300 vendors of camping gear, off-road bikes and cars, and related services and equipment. Overland Expo takes place twice a year, in Arizona and Virginia.

When Rivian first showed the RT1, the company highlighted the truck’s “geartunnel,” a pass-through storage space between the bed and the cabin’s rear seat. Rivian has now taken that space and built into it everything you’d need to feed your crew when camping. It has cooking surfaces with two induction burners, a sink with running water, a five-gallon water tank, and bins for storing pots, pans, and other cooking utensils.

Throw a tent and a couple of sleeping bags into the RT1’s bed, and with its claimed 400 miles of maximum range, you could go deep into the wilderness with everything you need for your overlanding adventure (though it’s a surprise that Rivian hasn’t yet introduced its own Pontiac Aztek-style OEM accessory tent).

Though the RT1 is only a concept, and Rivian hasn’t mentioned any serious plans for production, the slide-out kitchen does have some commercial potential as an alternative to a towed hot dog stand or a conventional food truck. Ford has an extensive program involving factory-approved upfitters that customize its commercial vans for the trades. If and when the Rivian and Ford tie-up comes to fruition, we can probably expect similar conversion programs for electric trucks, as well.

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