No Plug? No Problem. Rivian’s EV Trucks Will Charge Each Other

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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Pure-electric truck and SUV maker Rivian intends for its vehicles to be both as powerful as they are on road as they are adept at driving off road. Since they’re electric, though, this poses a unique dilemma: Where does a Rivian driver recharge when tackling, for example, the infamous Rubicon trail in Northern California, far from an EV charging station? So long as there is another Rivian truck along for the excursion, the answer is closer than you might imagine.

  • Rivian CEO confirms R1S SUV and R1T pickup trucks will offer Rivian-to-Rivian or vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) charging.
  • It’s another rang-extending innovation the brand plans to offer, in addition to auxiliary battery packs.
  • R1S and R1T trucks expected to go into production in late 2020.

If a range of more than 400 miles from the brand’s 180 kilowatt-hour battery pack weren’t enough for long-range overlanding drivers, Rivian has a clever and rather distinctive solution. Last week, company CEO RJ Scaringe revealed that the upstart all-electric 4×4 brand has developed vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) charging.

“You can also charge Rivian-to-Rivian, which is a neat thing,” Scaringe told The Drive. “You connect the two vehicles and then I could hand you some electrons. That takes us to the limit, and of course you can always find a corner of the world where it won’t work, just like you can’t find a gas station in Antarctica. You won’t be able to find a plug in Antarctica, so there are natural limitations.”

Rivian Camping Kitchen concept draws relatively littler power from the truck’s onboard batteries. | Photo: Rivian

 

In addition to the V2V charging, Rivian will also offer auxiliary battery packs, which will further extend vehicle range. Unfortunately, Rivian hasn’t revealed how many additional miles the auxiliary battery pack will add.

The V2V charging idea is a rather inventive — if not painfully obvious — solution to an equally evident problem. Frankly, I can’t believe Tesla hasn’t already implemented the idea. I mean, if you’re going to offer amazing off-road-capable vehicles, you’re going to have to support them with ingenious charging solutions.

Iconic off-road brand Land Rover recently made light of the off-road EV-charging predicament on April Fool’s Day. It put out a press release boasting an electric vehicle charging station on the Scottish Isle of Skye — some 15 miles from the nearest road. I argued that it was less a funny joke and more of a brilliant idea … and missed opportunity.

Rivian’s idea of V2V charging coincides with its all-electric prototype camping stove, which is another essential off-road lifestyle accessory. The stove slides in and out of the storage compartment behind the R1T truck cab. The brand brags that owners could light their entire campsite and cook all their meals for a week of the vehicle’s batteries and only tap 11% of the R1T’s power.

The only issue with the stove is that it sits in the same spot the auxiliary battery would occupy. That means your buddy will need to pack the auxiliary battery and you bring the stove. That way, though, he can replenish the juice you use cooking breakfast for both of you each morning.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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