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Rivian’s Working on 1,000-HP R1T and R1S That Can Pop Wheelies: Report

Guess the Hummer EV can pack it up and head home.
2022 Rivian R1T in the Rocky Mountains
James Gilboy

The Rivian R1T and R1S are doing a solid job of holding the throne as the kings of electric recreational pickup trucks and SUVs, despite the best efforts of the GMC Hummer EV and unpromising Tesla Cybertruck. Soon, they could reinforce their defenses, as the Rivian community is passing around a rumor of a significant update coming next year. Best of all, it’s said to include a 1,000-horsepower performance model that’s supposedly capable of wheelies.

Claiming to have heard of Rivian’s plans from “a solid source,” a Rivian Forums user alleges that Rivian plans to update its R1 series in 2024. A facelift is apparently coming with improvements to aerodynamics, with another user claiming Rivian will prioritize efficiency over performance for the update. Supposedly, the improved R1 will be capable of the same range using a smaller battery, which may improve profit margins, affordability, or both. Additionally, the refresh is said to include an altered interior with available massage seats, and potential suspension updates.

2022 Rivian R1S
2022 Rivian R1S. Rivian

This doesn’t mean Rivian will focus solely on efficiency though, as the rumor also outlines a new pinnacle performance model, rumored to be named “Ascent.” It’s claimed to generate 1,000 horsepower, and the prototype is said to be capable of wheelies—just like the Hummer EV was before engineers tuned it out for safety (Rivian may elect to do the same). The source of the rumor says the Ascent could use Rivian’s cheaper dual-motor setup, though they later acknowledge they “may have gotten some of the facts mixed up” and that it could still use the quad-motor drivetrain.

Rivian fans speculate this could be the previously announced quad-motor performance variant, which the company stated will pair four motors with the newly available “Max Pack” long-range battery. This configuration currently isn’t otherwise available. It’s also hard to imagine either the dual-motor or smaller batteries being capable of the rumored 1,000 hp.

2022 Rivian R1T in discontinued Compass Yellow and green
2022 Rivian R1T in discontinued Compass Yellow and green. Rivian

Update or no, the Rivian R1 will face increasing competition in the electric truck and SUV market in coming years as legacy automakers gear up for EV production. GM recently commenced small production of the Chevrolet Silverado EV, though its production ramp has now been delayed to late 2025.

Meanwhile, Stellantis’ alternative the 2025 Ram 1500 REV is expected to launch in 2024 with a target 500-mile range. It too won’t be available in significant numbers for some time though, and it won’t emphasize the same strengths as evidence suggests its curb weight will exceed 9,000 pounds on some models. While the Tesla Cybertruck may also arrive on the scene soon, having entered pre-production this year, its repeatedly delayed launch leaves uncertain when it will reach customers.

Rivian declined to comment on the rumor of 2024 updates for the R1 models.

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