With more and more electric cars encroaching on a market that Tesla has dominated since the modern all-electric vehicle came about, there is now another area Tesla may have to watch their back in. Having had the only all-electric SUV in the game for the past three years with its Model X, competition is popping up overseas and in the states.
Jaguar's I-Pace and Audi's e-tron, have both appeared recently, however, the newly revealed R1s by a company called Rivian has set its eyes on dethroning its better-known competition. Headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan, the company claims as many as 410 miles of range out of the R1S, and that's not the only thing Tesla should be starting to feel a little bit worried about.
The Tesla Model X uses a liquid-cooled lithium ion battery. Tesla offers two different pack sizes for the Model X. The 75D package includes a 75-kWh battery and Tesla's higher-end 100D and P100D packages include a 100-kWh battery. The Rivian R1S has its choice of three battery sizes. Its smallest 105 kWh battery option gives you a little more than the 75 kWh battery of Tesla's Model X. A 135 kWh mid-range battery is also offered as an option, and the whopping 180-kWh pack is the largest offered by the R1S.
The Tesla Model X's 75D package offers a driving range of 237 miles, while its 100D and P100D packages are capable of between 289 and 295 miles. The Rivian R1S's three battery sizes surpass its competition in each area when it comes to range. Its smallest 105 kWh battery option claims to offer 240 plus miles of range. A 135 kWh mid-range option claims you can go beyond Tesla's highest power option at 310 plus miles, and the whopping 180-kWh pack promises customers 410 miles out of a charge. Not bad for being new to the game.
Both companies have their own way of putting the power to the ground for these all-wheel-drive SUVs. Tesla's Model X all-wheel drive dual motor system puts one motor in the front of the SUV and the other in the rear. The two motors' combined output pushes the Model X's power up to 779 horsepower and 920 lb-ft of torque. The Rivian R1S, on the other hand, uses four motors to power its all-wheel-drive system. The four electric motors and four single-speed gearboxes are mounted sideways in the chassis to keep the weight as central as possible. The motors are each rated at 197 peak horsepower. Their combined output ratings vary with each battery option. The company rates 402, 754, or 700 horsepower for the different pack's, and torque ranges from 413 lb-ft to 826 lb-ft.
When it comes to performance neither the R1S or the Model X is a slouch. Zero to sixty times are far better than any petrol-powered SUV on the market. The base Model X manages to zip up to 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds, which just happens to be the same time R1S's slowest option turned in. The quickest Model X and SUV is the P100D option which punches through the finish line in 2.9 seconds. The 135-kWh mid-range version of the Rivian SUV is that brand’s quickest at 3.0 seconds flat. The Rivian's largest battery, adds two tenths at 3.2 seconds. While Tesla may be the first to the checkered flag in acceleration, be sure to check the price at the end of this list to see what you might pay to get that tenth of a second bragging right.
6. Curb Weight
With only one weight spec on record for the newly announced Rivian R1S, its weight comes in at 5842 lbs. It's only a guess that this information is for the largest 180 kWh option, but would make sense in its zero to sixty times differing from its weaker battery pack option. Weighing a significant amount less is the Teslas Model X. Its 75D comes in at 5185 pounds. The 100D is 5421 pounds and Tesla's heaviest P100D weighs in well under the R1S specs at 5483 pounds. We can only wait and see what other numbers will come out for the Rivian's other options before a winner can be declared in this category.
5. Exterior Dimensions
The two companies' SUV exterior dimensions are extremely close. The boxy, larger looking, Rivian R1S length is only a tenth of an inch longer at 198.4 inches. Both the Tesla and Rivian measure around 80 inches with the R1S at 79.3 inches wide and the Model X at 81.5 inches wide. The Rivian's R1S does take a more of a traditional SUV stance standing at a height 71.6 inches compared to the Model X's 66-inch height, which could be an advantage for taller passengers climbing in.
4. Luggage Capacity / Cargo Volume
Comparing cargo capacity between the two SUVs proves to be difficult. The wide discrepancies between cargo capacities and the similarities between vehicle dimensions can only mean that there is no standard in the way the two measure their vehicles' cargo capacities. The Rivian offers 11.65 cubic feet of storage in its front trunk or "frunk", and the Tesla Model X with its aerodynamic slope only offers 6.6 cubic feet. The rear cargo measurements are where the numbers really start to vary. The Rivian lists their R1S with 6.5 cubic feet of cargo space and the Tesla ends up with a whopping 76 cubic feet. We may just have to wait until 2021 to get a side by side and standard of measurement with these two before you make a decision based on cargo space.
3. Off-Road Capabilities
Sport Utility Vehicls (or SUVs as they are more commonly known), used to be just that - a vehicle you could take camping and drive through wooded trails. In recent years the 'sport' and the 'utility' of most SUV's has been marketed out of the vehicle itself to make them more of a trendy replacement for the mini-van. The Model X looks like it will stick with this trend (only offering 8.22 inches of ground clearance), while the Rivian R1S has gone above and beyond, including adjustable ground clearance from 9.6 to 11.2 inches and off-road clearance of 14.3 inches. The company also claims the R1S will ford up to 1 meter of water, putting the sport and the utility back into the SUV.
More than likely the R1S will not be on the market for at least another few years. With its pricing yet to be announced we can only go off of the R1T pickup's price which is based on the same platform. Starting at $69,000 for its smallest battery trim, we can only guess that the base R1S will cost a bit more. For close to twenty thousand more, the entry-level Model X 75D starts at $87,000, making the cost substantially greater. If you are a buyer in the United States and are looking to use your $7,500 tax incentive to purchase an electric vehicle, you will have to use it on the Model X this year. The President has announced the tax credit and other alternative fuel incentives will be terminated after this year.
There is one more consideration everyone must take into account when buying a car from a new car manufacturer. Tesla had its own problems producing cars, learning from design flaws and struggling to keep up with demand, most recently in the affordable Model 3. The claims that Rivian makes about their vehicle sound great, but until someone can get hold of one and do their own testing, who knows what the company will bring in the next few years. With a few years to wait on the Rivian to hit production lines, Tesla's formulas for its Model X can only get better, requiring a new comparison of the vehicles.