Hi there! Let‘s take an in-depth look at the Rivian R1T electric pickup truck and the upcoming Volkswagen Scout EV pickup to see how they compare. This analysis will arm you with key details on performance, capabilities, pricing, and more to determine which truck lines up best with your needs.
A Tale of Two Electric Truck Startups
First, let‘s look at where each of these trucks comes from.
The R1T is the first model from Rivian, an American electric vehicle startup founded in 2009 as Mainstream Motors in Florida. After relocating to Michigan and rebranding as Rivian in 2011, the company operated in secret for years before unveiling prototypes of the R1T pickup and R1S SUV in 2018.
After nearly a decade of development and over $10 billion raised from investors like Amazon and Ford, Rivian commenced customer deliveries of the R1T in September 2021. The truck has earned glowing reviews for its design, performance, and off-road capabilities. Rivian went public in late 2021 at a valuation of over $75 billion, establishing itself as a major force in the EV space.
Meanwhile, Scout Motors is a recently formed subsidiary of Volkswagen Group. In May 2022, VW shocked the industry by announcing an independent Scout brand would design and build a new series of electric trucks and SUVs for the US market, starting with a pickup in 2026.
Scout Motors will operate from a newly purchased factory in Chattanooga, TN and aims to sell over 250,000 vehicles annually in North America when at full capacity. Volkswagen is investing $7.1 billion in Scout Motors over the next five years and targeting young, environmentally-conscious buyers.
So in one corner we have Rivian, an established EV startup with years of R&D behind its first model, while Scout represents VW‘s big push into the electric truck market in America leveraging an iconic heritage brand. Now let‘s see how these contrasting contenders compare based on what we know so far.
Powertrain and Performance Specs
When it comes to pickups, power and acceleration are key considerations for buyers who want to tow heavy loads or go off-roading. The R1T packs some impressive specs to deliver thrilling performance. Let‘s take a look under the sheet metal:
The base Dual-Motor AWD configuration produces 563 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, enabling 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.5 seconds. Top speed is 125 mph.
Stepping up to the Dual-Motor Performance bumps output to 665 hp/829 lb-ft of torque. The 0-60 mph sprint drops to just 3.5 seconds for this model.
The top-dog Quad-Motor AWD variant wields four electric motors – one per wheel – unlocking a staggering 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque. This allows the R1T to rocket from 0-60 mph in a blistering 3.0 seconds on its way to a top speed of 125 mph.
The R1T can tow an impressive 11,000+ pounds and its sophisticated AWD system gives it legitimate off-road credentials. It can climb 45-degree inclines and rock crawl with ease.
Scout Motors hasn‘t revealed powertrain specifics yet, but says the Scout EV pickup will feature an AWD dual-motor configuration. Power figures remain unannounced. But we can expect solid performance given VW‘s goals of competing with Rivian. I‘d speculate we‘ll see a sub-6 second 0-60 time and 400+ hp based on other dual-motor EVs using VW‘s platform.
As far as capabilities, Scout says the truck is targeting "best-in-class off-road metrics" but we‘ll have to wait for them to put a prototype in the hands of off-road experts to see how it stacks up. Towing capacity is also TBA.
Range and Charging Speed
For any EV, range and charging speeds play a big role in overall utility. Here‘s a breakdown of battery size, range, and charge rates across R1T configurations:
The base Standard Pack offers 135 kWh of capacity, delivering 230+ miles of range. Charging speed peaks at 140 kW.
The Large Pack increases capacity to 180 kWh for 300+ miles of range. 160 kW peak charging rate.
The top Max Pack option provides a massive 200+ kWh for 400+ mile maximum range, but charging slows to 150 kW peak.
The Max Pack allows epic off-grid excursions but adds over 1,000 pounds of weight. The Large Pack offers the best blend of range and charging in my opinion. Rivian quotes over 200 miles of range added in just 20 minutes of DC fast charging.
As for the Scout EV, Volkswagen is targeting an approximate 300 mile range from the pickup‘s battery pack. Charging capacity will reach up to 350 kW enabling quick charging, according to VW.
So while range is similar on paper, the Scout EV may have an edge in charging speed based on VW‘s goals. But real-world testing will tell us how these trucks compare at public charging stations.
With any major purchase, pricing plays a key role in the decision-making process. Being a new company, Rivian has greater costs and less economies of scale versus an established automaker like VW. That gets reflected in the R1T‘s pricing:
The base Dual-Motor Explore Package starts at $73,000 before any options.
The mid-tier Dual-Motor Adventure Package comes in at $88,500.
The top Quad-Motor Max Battery model starts at $93,000.
Some key options like the Max battery pack can quickly raise the price over $100,000 for a fully equipped R1T.
Scout plans a much lower starting price, with execs stating the Scout EV pickup will start "well below $50,000" before options. Specific pricing remains unannounced, but that potential sub-$50,000 starting point undercuts the base R1T by over $20,000.
Given VW‘s vast size and manufacturing capabilities, they likely can produce Scout EVs at a lower overall cost than niche player Rivian, enabling more attractive pricing. For buyers focused on value, that lower starting price gives Scout an advantage.
Rivian is ramping up production at its Illinois plant now, with the R1T widely available for order online. The Scout EV pickup won‘t launch until late 2025 as a 2026 model, so you‘ve got a 3+ year wait if you want VW‘s truck.
Off-Road Focus: Adventure-Ready or Poser?
A major selling point for both trucks is their off-road capabilities. Rivian has already proven the R1T‘s chops in this arena after years of testing and validation. With its sophisticated AWD, high ground clearance, underbody protection, and 35-inch tire options, it‘s the real deal.
Rivian has emphasized the R1T‘s utility for outdoor pursuits withlanding/charging gear storage and options like a slide-out camp kitchen. This truck seems purpose-built for adventure.
Volkswagen highlights the Scout EV‘s "off-road enthusiasm" but its capabilities remain to be seen. A short teaser video showed glimpses of a steel underbody skid plate, knobby tires, and matte black cladding – hinting at off-road aspirations.
But adapting an EV platform shared across passenger cars to extreme off-roading is challenging. Based on its heritage and Rivian‘s benchmark, Scout needs to prove it‘s not just an off-road poser compared to the R1T‘s credibility. Once prototypes emerge in 2024, we‘ll have a better idea if it lives up to the hype.
The Takeaway: R1T Proven vs. Scout‘s Savings
So which of these trucks is right for you? Here are the key takeaways:
The Rivian R1T offers proven performance, ridiculous acceleration, and legitimate off-road chops – albeit at a premium price starting around $73,000. With over a year of production under its belt, Rivian has shown it can deliver on the R1T‘s promise.
The Volkswagen Scout EV pickup presents a huge unknown still 3+ years away from production. But its potential sub-$50,000 starting price makes it an intriguing value play. VW has the manufacturing skill to make that possible, if it can deliver range and capability approaching Rivian‘s benchmark.
For maximum power and off-road talent today, go with the R1T. But budget-focused buyers may be willing to wait on the Scout EV pickup if VW nails the pricing and design for an electric truck at scale. Either way, it‘s an exciting time for the electric pickup market!
Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy truck shopping!