Rivian trucks in Kenya; It’s barely been a week since a car hauler truck was spotted on Kenya’s Mombasa road carrying several Rivian R1T’s to Nairobi, to the bemusement of many car enthusiasts around the world and Kenyans as well. The question is, what is an electric vehicle with the 0-60 km/h time of a C8 corvette, utility time of a ford ranger, interior technology of a tesla, immense curb weight of a rhinoceros with an aesthetic interior design and glass roof, doing in Kenya. This has sparked so many questions among Kenyan netizens, all of which came to a dead end with little information being revealed on the reason why the luxurious, off-road vehicle is in Kenya.
However, here is what is known about the car’s presence in Nairobi. American billionaire Businessman and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos bought out a 20% stake in Rivian. Rivian had been manufacturing R1T’s until their maiden debut on roads in September 2021. In fact, many Rivian customers have preordered the vehicles, which raises even more questions as to what exactly the trucks are doing in Kenya.
Jeff Bezos hired Kenyan-born Charly Mwangi to be the Executive Vice President of Manufacturing Engineering for Rivian. Mwangi had previously worked at Tesla before moving to Rivian. About a week ago, Rivian announced Charly Mwangi’s departure from the company. This could mean that the former executive is responsible for the vehicles landing in Kenya. In fact, Mwangi tweeted on his twitter account; ‘Finally!!! This is super exciting’
On June 1st, 2022, the electric vehicles were transported to Kenya’s Electric vehicle company workshop, ROAM. At the workshop, several people took photos with the vehicle and a video clip was recorded showing one of the vehicles charging. ROAM’s Electric Vehicle Research and Development engineer, Eric Okumu took the opportunity to get behind the wheel and test the vehicle on Kenyan roads.
“Got an opportunity to experience the Rivian truck today. It was a great opportunity to test and drive it, charge it and learn more about its amazing cool features. It’s truly an amazing #electric vehicle and a trailblazer for EVs here in Kenya.”
Speculations are that the vehicles may have new Kenyan owners.
This Electric Vehicle is a high-end utility truck that costs around Kshs. 8 Million (Above $67,500) and it drives like a Mustang Marquee for its price and weight. The car is mostly an off-road adventure vehicle, however, it does have the option to change to different modes such as Sport. The most iconic feature of the vehicle at first glance would be the Bright LED beam bar at the front and rear of the vehicle. It also has archetypal headlights with low beams and high beams.
The R1T’s unlike other trucks do not have a differential lock underneath the vehicle and this creates more room for ground clearance. Instead, the Rivian Electric trucks boast a quad electric motor on each of the wheels with a total of over 900-pounds of torque and 800 horsepower. This is impressive and is what attributes to its 0-100 Km/h feat in 4 seconds, considering its total body weight of 7000 pounds; heavy but drives like it isn’t heavy. The front motors on the front wheels have 413 pounds of torque while the rear motors have 495 pounds of torque.
The battery is sealed and protected by carbon at the bottom of the truck. The R1T’s hood is a space of 330 liters, and the trunk has a 200 liter sealed bin on the trunk’s bed floor. It also has a gear tunnel where there normally would be shafts, and this space amounts to 350 liters. The vehicle’s design utterly contributes to its function.
In addition, the Rivian Truck has an independent four-wheel air suspension to control the vehicle’s ride height. The vehicle’s body height can vary, with a range of 9.5 inches to 15 inches. It also has hydraulic roll control and a damper system to control the body on and off the road. For charging, the Rivian R1T’s charging pod uses the J1772 and the CCS. The LED beam bar lights green while the vehicle is charging.
The only critique that the vehicle faces from most car enthusiasts is that it does not have a car play system. However, it does come with a Bluetooth woofer that has a unique Meridian sound system. The Rivian R1T’s spell a whole new generation for off-road trucking. With Teslas being driven around Kenya, the Rivian Trucks may be the first all-electric trucks to be cruising on Kenyan roads.