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Rivian R1X: The Ultra-Capable Electric Performance SUV Built for Adventure

Rivian: The Electric Adventure Company Poised to Disrupt the Automotive Industry

Rivian burst onto the scene in late 2018 after operating for years in "stealth mode" development. The Michigan-based EV startup had ambitious goals from its founding in 2009 – to challenge the conventions around electric vehicles and demonstrate EVs could be purpose-built for anything from outdoor adventure to long-haul trucking.

Led by CEO and MIT engineering grad Robert Scaringe, Rivian took a clean-sheet approach to their first models. They designed bespoke platforms featuring innovations like the flexible "skateboard" chassis housing the battery and electric motors, while maximizing interior space for people and gear.

Key backers like Ford and Amazon provided financial support allowing Rivian to perfect andprove these designs before full manufacturing ramped up. And the $100+ billion valuations from public markets since their blockbuster 2021 IPO shows investor appetite for the company‘s unique EV vision.

Rivian‘s R1T pickup and R1S SUV built on the same modular R1 skateboard quickly won over critics and customers alike with chassis architecture enabling impressive off-road ability complemented by supercar-besting acceleration. Now they aim to condense the formula of their first EVs into an even more agile, powerful package – the R1X.

The Skateboard Foundation Enabling Rivian‘s Flexible Vision

All Rivian models ride atop their innovative "skateboard" foundations – echoing the longboard platforms wielded by skaters to zip along pavement or pull off tricks. For Rivian, this low-profile chassis represents the core DNA enabling modular flexibility across vehicles of vastly different sizes and purposes.

Rivian Skateboard Chassis

Rivian‘s skateboard chassis provides the foundation for all their vehicles

This flat platform houses the battery pack, electric drive motors, air suspension system and critical vehicle controls all neatly packaged to maximize interior volume above it. Rivian designs the skateboard in different sizes, with various wheelbases and ride height capabilities possible by adjusting suspension parameters.

By keeping so many components standardized in the chassis, Rivian streamlines manufacturing and development across their expanding range. The R1X in particular adopts a shortened variant of the skateboard promising even livelier handling given its smaller footprint. This demonstrates the flexibility of Rivian‘s core EV architecture as they push into new segments.

Quadruple Motors, 1,200 Horses: Engineering Overkill

Early reports peg the R1X‘s total output from its quad motor setup at an astonishing 1,200 horsepower and 1,200 lb-ft torque. That handily surpasses the insane 835 HP R1T pickup and even the supercar-shaming Plaid version of Tesla‘s Model S. Rivian is clearly embracing technical overkill with the R1X drivetrain to create an unequivocal performance flagship.

Rivian R1T Quad Motor Badge

The R1X inherits its quad motor design from the optionally upgraded R1T

Four high-efficiency, individually controlled electric motors – one powering each wheel – give the R1X unmatched traction and precision torque vectoring. By carefully balancing output side-to-side and front-to-back, these compact, gearless motors enable the vehicle‘s advanced Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system to optimize grip across surfaces.

Whether rocketing from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds on tarmac, creeping up precarious 45 ̊ inclines on the trail, or finding traction splitting river crossings, the R1X‘s quad motor arrangement promises superlative control authority. This also translates to formidable tow ratings expected to meet or exceed the R1T‘s 11,000 pound max trailer weight.

New Battery Pack: Range & Performance Redefined

Supplying electricity to the prodigiously strong quad motor assembly is an upgraded battery pack designed from scratch to fully exploit the compact two-row SUV layout of the R1X.

Details remain closely guarded, but logic suggests this new battery may use higher energy density cells compared to Rivian‘s existing LFP chemistry packs. The lighter vehicle weight also means fewer absolute kilowatt-hours would be required to match the 316 mile max range of the largest R1S SUV.

Projected R1X Performance Specs

Spec R1X Estimate
Battery Capacity 135-155 kWh
EPA Range 285-340 miles
0-60 mph 2.7 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph
DC Fast Charge Rate 190+ kW

Clearly the R1X is positioned to deliver sports car outpacing performance not normally associated with a 5,000 lb SUV. The abundance of immediate torque from its quad motor setup will help it rocket off the line and dash up to speed on the highway.

This outstanding power and range combination does come with a cost – one that places the R1X squarely in a premium price segment.

$115k Starting Price Positions It As a Super-SUV

Rumors around the R1X‘s base price pegging it at $115,000 prove Rivian isn‘t aiming for the mainstream with this top-tier model. Instead, it will battle established luxury marques like Audi, BMW and Mercedes on their home turf – while likely running laps around them literally on the performance front.

While not cheap enough to qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit soon shifting to income caps, most buyers will still net a few thousand in credits to offset the R1X‘s elevated buy-in. And make no mistake – they absolutely pay a premium for the privilege of quad motor bragging rights and expertise pouring out of this electric dynamo.

Demand Looks Strong Amongst Affluent Adventure-Seekers

Rivian opened the preorder floodgates for its R1T and R1S models with just a $1,000 fully refundable deposit. Over 100,000 customers have already put money down for the opportunity to buy one of their electric trucks or SUVs as production capacity expands.

Rivian R1X preorders will likely follow a similar deposit-based reservation process online. I expect demand to be substantial for the R1X amongst affluent outdoor enthusiasts eager for the ultimate high-tech, high-performance tool for adventure.

The existing R1T and R1S already command waitlists stretching 2-3 years for some configurations today even with Rivian‘s impressive production ramp. As the most driver-focused model promised yet combining a stunning 1,200 horses with possible 300+ miles of driving range, don‘t be shocked if the R1X draw crowds clamoring for a build slot.

Designed for Agility On and Off-Road

Spy photos comparing the R1X to its longer siblings reveal a more compact two-row layout with a sweeping fastback style roofline reminiscent of iconic sports coupes. This unique profile hints at the performance aspirations Rivian has for its new performance flagship.

Rivian R1X Spy Photo Side Profile

The R1X‘s sporting profile sets it apart from Rivian‘s existing SUV offerings

A shorter, lower, wider stance portends trick handling and a firmly planted feel at speed thanks to a reduced center of gravity. But impressive ground clearance visible in the prototypes suggests impressive off-road talents as well.

Dimensions:

Dimension R1X R1S
Wheelbase 115 in (est.) 135 in
Length 185 in (est.) 203 in
Width 79 in (est.) 79 in
Ground Clearance 12 in (est.) 14.9 in

Projected dimensions compared to the R1S full-size SUV

I‘d expect the R1X to carry over the outstanding hydropneumatic suspension system already proven on the R1S. This employs automatic self-leveling and lets owners adjust ride height across 8 inches for clearing obstacles or loading gear.

Articulation for axis-twisting, off-camber rock crawling should prove impressive as well thanks to the quad motor and brake-based torque vectoring system.

Add the ability to ford over 3 feet of water, and the R1X will deliver legitimate capability for those venturing way off the beaten path. Of course it will get there quicker than any production SUV yet created.

Cutting Edge Battery Chemistry Could Unlock Future Performance

As stunning as the R1X‘s projected performance already appears, Rivian almost certainly has additional ambition in store for the model as battery chemistry and processing continues rapidly improving. The configurable skateboard architecture makes swapping modules simple down the road.

Solid state batteries (SSBs) represent an especially intriguing next-gen advancement, as they can potentially double energy density compared to even the highest density lithium ion cells available today.

Major auto suppliers like QuantumScape are confident enough in solid state tech viability that they are actively developing prototypes andaiming for automotive production scale in this decade.

Rivian R1X Performance – Estimated Future Potenial

Specs 2024 Launch 2027 SSB Refresh
Battery Capacity 140 kWh 200 kWh
EPA Range 310 miles 450 miles
0-60 mph 2.8 seconds 2.4 seconds

Once energy density rises high enough, Rivian could integrate upgraded battery modules into the R1X skateboard adding range while retaining the vehicle‘s nimble handling. This modularity gives the R1X an intriguing upgrade path to fulfill its performance aspirations for years to come.

Examining Key Rivian R1X Competitors and Contenders

Although development is ongoing and Rivian remains secretive about most specifications, there are clear segments and competitive vehicles the R1X targets with its unique blend of on- and off-road performance prowess. Evaluating its credentials against rivals helps crystallize the model‘s positioning.

Premium Electric Crossovers & SUVs

  • Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid – traditional premium player
  • BMW iX – tech-forward 5-seat SUV
  • Tesla Model X Plaid – EV range and performance leader
  • Fisker Ocean Extreme – solar-supplemented sustainably minded luxury

High Capability Electric SUVs

  • GMC Hummer EV SUV – off-road brute performance
  • Bollinger B2 – no-frills go-anywhere blocky aesthetic

Against this highly competitive field, the Rivian R1X differentiates itself with several key advantages:

  • Significantly quicker acceleration than any rival full-size electric SUV
  • Projected 300+ mile max driving range to meet real world needs
  • Legitimate capability for extreme off-road trails thanks to quad motor system and long travel suspension
  • Lifestyle vehicle appeal combining supercar performance with rugged utility

Forcing compromises between on-road driving dynamics and off-road talent is a reality most SUVs face. By developing its skateboard foundation specifically to excel across different conditions, Rivian avoids having to choose one over the other with the R1X.

Deliveries Start Late 2023 – Here‘s the Process From Ordering to Ownership

Rivian has emphasized convenient digital ordering and mobile-first customer support since its inception. Avoiding traditional dealerships, customers can place reservations, finalize options, and complete purchase paperwork completely online.

Production of the Rivian R1X is scheduled to commence in late 2023. Here is what prospective owners can expect as deliveries grow closer:

Summer 2023 – R1X Configurator and Reservations Open Online

  • $1,000 fully refundable deposit guarantee production slot
  • Select model specs: battery range, performance upgrades, colors, wheel options, accessories
  • Upload trade-in vehicle info for instant value estimate to offset purchase price

Fall 2023 – R1X Order Finalization & Payment

  • Confirm options, expected delivery timing
  • Finalize purchase payment details including financing
  • Add registration details ensuring vehicle arrives already titled

Winter 2023/2024 – R1X Delivery

  • Either pickup at your local Rivian service center or home delivery
  • Schedule orientation walkthrough at delivery or follow-up mobile session
  • Worry-free ownership supported by OTA updates and responsive service

Rivian aims to continuously improve every step of the process based on customer feedback. But out of the gate, this streamlined online buying experience stands out as a major advantage versus traditional auto sales models.

R1X Cements Rivian‘s Position as the Leading Electric Adventure Brand

With the reveal of the R1X performance SUV, Rivian further distinguishes itself as the electric brand for empowering adventure without compromise. This compact SUV promises to complement its taller R1S sibling with an even more athletically minded personality optimized to deliver visceral driving thrills.

Early indications suggest the R1X could ultimately reside in a class of one – blending supercar beating acceleration and high-tech connectivity with the rough-and-tumble talents demanded from off-road Explorers.

Rivian is already attracting some of the world‘s most demanding vehicle buyers from multiple industries thanks to thoughtfully expanding its portfolio. For anybody seeking exhilarating emission-free driving married to four-season, go-anywhere confidence, the R1X warrants an eager spot on their watchlist today.