The Rivian R1S has become the first production electric vehicle to complete the Rubicon Trail in California.

    The track is often used by keen off-roaders, as well as Jeep engineers for testing of its 4×4 models. It measures 29.3km long, and includes a 635m elevation change.

    Rivian added a set of steel rock sliders, a front mount hitch, and a roof rack to the otherwise stock quad-motor R1S. The EV ran 34-inch Pirelli all-terrain tyres.

    The Rivian R1S as stock offers a 35.6-degree approach angle and 34.3-degree departure angle. For context, the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series Sahara ZX has an approach angle of 24 degrees and departure angle of 25 degrees, while these are 36.5 degrees and 31.9 degrees, respectively, on a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.

    The SUV was accompanied by two pre-production quad-motor R1Ts – the company’s pickup – for the first leg of the trip and then was accompanied by a Jeep Wrangler for the remainder of the trail.

    Rivian says the SUV started the trail with 80 per cent charge, which was reduced to 10 per cent charge by the end of the course. The company says this was just enough to get to a Level 2 charger nearby.

    According to Rivian, the electric SUV experienced no mechanical failures or tyre changes throughout the trail but did sustain some “cosmetic bumps and scrapes”.

    “I’m hugely impressed by the R1S’s clean run. Aside from some homebuilt EV crawlers, this is the first fully-EV vehicle through the trail, and definitely the first production EV. Very impressive on stock tires, too,” said Rubicon Trail Foundation director Chris Bassett.

    Jeep is working on an electric off-roader of its own, the Recon, that it says will be able to tackle the Rubicon. However, it isn’t due to enter production until 2024.

    Jade Credentino

    Jade Credentino is an automotive journalist currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Jade has had a chance to review a variety of vehicles and particularly enjoys SUVs. She enjoys traveling and going on road trips exploring Australia.

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