Safari-Spec Rivian R1T Is The Ultimate Open-Air Electric Experience

Electric Vehicles / 11 Comments

It's one of several examples that are being put to good use by the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust in Kenya.

The Rivian R1T is a massively capable electric truck and is equally at home traversing rocky terrain as it is embarrassing ICE-powered trucks in a drag race. Now, it's showing its versatility by serving as the ultimate safari vehicle in Kenya.

Shared by in various Rivian forums and groups on Facebook, the images show a Rivian that has been converted to safari-spec. There's a prominent bull bar up front and a dual spare wheel holder at the rear. The most obvious change, however, is that the roof has been chopped off and seating installed for up to eight occupants across four rows.

There's no glass, providing onlookers with a clear view of the animals and landscapes, while a simple roof provides refuge from the hot African sun. Because Kenya drives on the left of the road, the R1T has also been converted to right-hand drive to adhere to local traffic rules.

Jason Lutjen/Facebook
Jason Lutjen/Facebook

The vehicle belongs to the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) which, together with Rivian, embarked on a joint project last year to deploy four R1T pickups in the region. These vehicles are used to help conservation efforts across protected lands in South-Eastern Kenya, with MWCT noting their silent propulsion comes in handy for quiet anti-poaching patrols.

Other examples are also used to transport Maasai firefighters and wildlife rangers who may need to respond to an emergency in a hurry. It's unclear whether this example is one of the original four or if Rivian has provided another R1T for safari duties. What's more, the R1T emits no tailpipe emissions, which is ideal for the fiercely protected fauna and flora.

When the project kicked off late last year, the bevy of Rivians were the only four on the continent and probably still are.

Jason Lutjen/Facebook
Jason Lutjen/Facebook

In Africa, the venerable Toyota Land Cruiser 79 reigns supreme as the vehicle of choice for wildlife lodges and safari companies. However, the Rivian has a few aces up its sleeve that make it just as useful. Thanks to its electric drivetrain, the R1T operates silently and is less of a nuisance to nearby sensitive animals.

This benefits passengers too, who may want to soak in the sights and sounds without the clattering of an agricultural diesel engine. Even if this is the lesser dual-motor variant with 600 horsepower, it should be able to scamper away effortlessly should the situation arise. But what about charging?

According to the MWCT, the fleet of Rivians top up their batteries using solar power, which is as eco-friendly as you can get. Electric range isn't really a concern here, as safari drives cover short distances and very low speeds.

Jason Lutjen/Facebook
Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust/Facebook
Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust/Facebook
Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust/Facebook

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