Rivian has done a great job of marketing its vehicles as lifestyle products rather than just rough-and-tough trucks that happen to be electric. By doing so, the Amazon-backed startup has kept the industry on edge waiting for the official release of its R1T pickup and R1S SUV.
Until recently, the only examples of the R1T seen in the wild have been in crew cab configuration. But it would appear that the automaker might have something else up its sleeve as an image of an extended cab version has surfaced on Rivian's own website.
The photo is snuck into a parallax divider in a blog post Rivian made about extreme testing of the R1T in snow-covered Minnesota. There's no mention of this particular truck elsewhere on the site, nor has CEO and founder RJ Scaringe brought up the possibility of an extended cab variant before.
Other keen-eyed posters on Rivian Owners Forum saw this as well. In fact, some even began comparing the R1T in the image to the R1T in the blog video—things didn't exactly add up. Was it all a play on camera angles? Does the extended cab R1T even exist?
Luckily, we were able to find the answer.
A Rivian spokesperson told The Drive that the automaker built this particular example as a test mule to gather data for the R1S electric SUV. They explained that since this round of testing was completed "before we had R1S bodies on the [production] line," an SUV body couldn't simply be fitted to the skateboard platform. Because the standard R1T shell is built to fit on a wheelbase of 135 inches, it was just too large to plop on the shorter 121-inch wheelbase of the R1S. With the help of a little fabrication, the R1T extended cab test mule was born.
Rivian told us that there's "nothing to see here on the extended cab front," so while such a variant of the R1T technically exists, it seems like it won't make its way to market, at least initially.
Scaringe previously explained in an interview with MotorTrend that the R1 family of vehicles will be the brand's halo products. Rivian is also poised to follow them up with smaller, more affordable models as part of the so-called R2 and R3 series. Perhaps one of these upcoming vehicles will be fitted with a smaller cab—we'll just have to wait and see.
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