Earlier this year, I got the chance to get behind the wheel Rivian’s two big, fast trucks. The R1S and R1T are the fastest-accelerating vehicles I’ve ever driven, with enough power and grip to fuse your spine and ribcage to those comfy leather seats. But now, I hear you’re all out there flooring these things in reverse for shits and giggles. So I come to you, on my knees, with a humble request: Please stop this.
Yes, I’m sure it’s fun. It’s a neat party trick when you want to go all Baby Driver on your friends, fooling them into thinking you’ll go one direction and then actually speeding off in the other. But it’s also a bad idea, and I can explain why with math. Also, just, basic logic.
Let’s start with the math. In instrumented testing, a Rivian R1S or R1T hits 60 miles an hour in 3.1 seconds. Assuming that acceleration is consistent, we’re looking at a rate of acceleration of 28.4 feet per second squared. That means that, for every second your foot stays planted on the skinny pedal, your Rivian is accelerating 28.4 feet per second faster than the last second. Make sense?
But, according to owners, your big fancy EV tops out at 16 miles an hour in reverse. At that calculated rate of acceleration, it’ll take you just over three quarters of a second to hit that maximum speed. It’ll be a terrifying three quarters of a second, if you thought you were in Drive rather than Reverse, but at least it won’t last that long.
In that time, however, you’ll have traveled nearly 10 feet. Remember that objects in your mirror are always closer than they appear, and now they’re coming at you more quickly than you may have expected — and more quickly than you can accurately perceive and respond to. That’s where the logic part of this comes into play: C’mon, really? You’re at the helm of over 7,000 lbs of metal here, you want to floor it in the one direction your eyes physically can’t see?
Please, stop this. Launch your trucks forwards, in the same direction your eyes go. You’ll have more fun, feel the acceleration for more time, and stand less of a chance of running over your kid’s Big Wheel in the process. I cannot believe I have to ask this.