It’s Electric!

Van in Black has added another vehicle to our fleet but this one is a little unique from previous additions. This is a fully electric SUV that can seat up to 6 passengers (not including the driver). For this vehicle we went with a beautiful black Rivian R1S:

The Rivian R1S
The Rivian R1S

We have had this vehicle on order for about 3 years and are super excited to have it as part of our fleet. When we ordered it, three long years ago, we had never driven or seen a Rivian in person. We wanted to see how an electric vehicle would do in a commercial environment and everything we read online gave the Rivian very high marks for both comfort, design, and functionality. We put down a deposit on the vehicle, picked a color (black of course!), and then we waited…and waited, and waited, and waited. We started seeing some on the road in our area about a year ago and eventually we received the news that our brand new Rivian was ready for delivery. We had the option of having it delivered or picking it up from their service center in Atlanta, Georgia. We opted to make a day of it, travel to Atlanta, and see what it can do on a 200+ mile trip home from there.

Our New Rivian!
Picking up our new Rivian!

The Verdict?

The Rivian didn’t disappoint. It is a beautiful vehicle with some really elegant design accents. For example, the front dash has real wood inlayed into the design and is 100% digital for instrumentation and controls. It is a nice blend of tech and traditional that is something you typically see on higher end Mercedes-Benz vehicles (like the S-Class sedans). The Rivian is also a fun vehicle that is specifically designed to be just that. Fun! The “fun” is not cheesy either. It is nicely integrated into a very functional, comfortable, and somewhat luxurious SUV that can comfortably seat six average sized passengers. Did I mention that the Rivian is also powerful? With a total of four independent electric motors on the wheels, the Rivian R1S puts out an explosive 835HP that is managed by an impressive drive and traction control system that keeps it under control. It is a very nice, smooth, quiet, and comfortable ride that we are very pleased to be offering to our clients. The 200+ mile trip we had back from the Rivian Service Center was pleasant, relaxing, and easily done with the 320 mile battery pack installed in the vehicle.

Rivian R1S Dashboard
A beautiful wood dashboard!

The Range Challenge…

The 800 pound gorilla in the room with electric vehicles is always the range challenge and we acknowledge that. Electric vehicles have a fixed range that is typically less than gasoline or diesel vehicles and it can’t be quickly overcome. Even with the fastest chargers available it will still take us several hours to recharge an electric vehicle so that it is ready for use again. With that being said, we are intentionally limiting this vehicle to specific regions that we know we will be able to serve on a single charge. We keep detailed records of all of our runs with 5+ years of mileage data that we were able to analyze to give us the comfort level we needed to proceed with exploring this new automotive technology. As we acquire more actual data from using an electric vehicle, we will likely update the areas we can service with this vehicle and add more geographic locations as we are able to do so. For now, however, this vehicle is going to stick to servicing the Asheville, Hendersonville, Tryon, and Lake Lure regions of Western North Carolina.

The Future…

We are unsure of what the future holds for electric vehicles as there are some definite challenges to using them in a commercial environment (as acknowledged above). There are, however, a few things that we definitely know right now; first is that America is a country that gets things done and constantly improves on design. This technology will improve over time and all of the issues and challenges with electric vehicles will eventually be resolved. That is what we do and will always do in the U.S. How long will that take? Who knows, but it will get done. You can take that to the bank. The second thing we know is that the vehicle we purchased, the Rivian R1S, is a cool car. We would have bought this vehicle regardless of the engine type. It stands on its own and we are excited for our customers to experience it.

The vibe of a Rivian is all about adventure. Where would you like your next adventure to be? A wine tour? Beer Tour? Wedding Transportation? The electric SUV is now a thing at Van in Black that you can book now for your next adventure.

Avatar for Ryan Watts

I am the founder of Van in Black. I also started HD Carolina (the first Carolina themed channel on Roku and Amazon Fire TV) and several other service based companies located in North Carolina. I am also a musician, photographer, wine geek (WSET Level 3 in Wines Certified with merit and Level 1 with the Court of Master Sommeliers), computer nerd, and lover of all things cool. Most importantly, however, I am a husband, father, and very proud (newly minted) grandfather.

18 thoughts on “It’s Electric!”

  1. Thank you for your insight! I’ve had my eye on this Rivian since I first noticed one creeping through the Rocky Mtns this summer ever so sleekly!

  2. Over a two year period I’ve had the opportunity to drive the R1T and R1S on each style Rivian stock wheel/tire.

    20” All-Terrain wheels
    21” Road wheels
    22” Sport wheels

    Driving conditions included highway, two lane, dirt road in dry and wet conditions. I’ve driven both models on the same course using all vehicle ride and height settings before and after OTA’s.

    In my opinion the ride of the R1T and R1S are noticeably different. While the size of tire and rim make a difference I’ve concluded that the 13.5” longer wheelbase of the R1T provides the best and most quiet ride with the factory 21” road tire and wheel. While both Rivian models handle well on smooth surfaces at all speeds, the R1T does a much better job of absorbing bridge gap seams and imperfections on any road surface and any tire size. The length of the R1T wheelbase seems to provide the suspension more of an opportunity to absorb the bumps and swales in the road. I also noticed much less float or drift with the R1T at highway speed compared to the R1S. Moreso when navigating road surface imperfections.

    Both Rivian models excel on wet roads at any setting or stock tire package. So much so that it takes considerable effort to lose traction. With very little snow in the Mid Atlantic region the past two years and no desire on my part to go off road, I’m unable to offer a comparison in this regard.

    I have no expertise in the automotive field and base my conclusion on having driven 30 different SUVs and pick-ups over a 48 year period. Mainly GM products ranging from the first Tahoe, Suburbans, Silverado’s and Escalades with a variety of wheel base lengths and wheel/tire sizes.

    Bottom line. The R1T rides much better than the R1S.

    • Thanks for the incredibly detailed comment. I have not had an opportunity to drive the R1T but now I want to so that I too can compare the difference between the two models. I do enjoy our R1S though. We have had it for about 45 days now and absolutely love the vehicle.

  3. I’ve had my R1S since Christmas 2023. I love it… so many people stop and ask about it. The range could be improved, but it is by far the sexiest SUV I have owned. The ride is also amazing. Smooth, sleek, and I feel safe. This is a real winner, and I truly believe in this company..

    • We picked up ours about that same time and agree with all of your points. We also get so many comments and questions by people who want to know more about it. We are also excited about the announcement of the R2 which is going to be made on March 7th. We can’t wait to see what that is going to look like!


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