Rivian is field testing dual-motor versions of the R1T and R1S

The company is putting the EVs through their paces in the New Zealand winter.


Electric vehicle maker Rivian is testing dual-motor versions of its R1T pickup and R1S SUV in the wild. The automaker is currently putting those models through their paces in the New Zealand winter, according to a tweet from CEO RJ Scaringe that InsideEVs spotted.

The company announced in March it would offer R1T and R1S variants that use its dual-motor Enduro powertrain. It said these models would be less expensive than their four-motor counterparts, starting at $67,500 for the R1T and $72,500 for the R1S. Not accounting for the destination fee, the four-motor R1T starts at $79,500 and the R1S at $84,500.

Rivian developed Enduro's motors in-house and the system is already in use — the electric van the company is making for Amazon has an Enduro drive unit. The company hopes the Enduro powertrain will help it to reduce costs and keep down the price of the R1S, R1T and upcoming R2 models. That's an important consideration for Rivian, given that the Inflation Reduction Act the Senate just passed seeks to bring in new federal EV tax credit rules. Electric SUVs, trucks and vans priced $80,000 and over won't be eligible for the $7,500 subsidy.

At the time Rivian announced the dual-motor R1T and R1S, it raised prices of the four-motor EVs by $12,000. After a backlash, it limited the price increases to new orders, though the automaker was swiftly slapped with a shareholder lawsuit over the issue.

Meanwhile, Rivian is attempting to increase production of the R1T and R1S. It expects to build around 25,000 vehicles this year, despite having a backlog of 71,000 as of early July. Late last month, it laid off six percent of its workforce in order to dedicate more resources to production.