Rivian wants police departments and first responders to use its upcoming electric trucks and it is planning to make them comfortable with seats designed for people who are carrying a gun.
Over the last few years, we have seen several police departments test electric vehicles as part of their fleet and even some have started to transition to electric vehicles.
The Tesla Model 3 has been particularly successful at convincing police departments to go electric.
Earlier this year, the Bargersville, Indiana, police department started updating its fleet to Tesla Model 3 vehicles after they realized it would be much less expensive to drive electric.
However, some police departments prefer bigger vehicles, like SUVs and pickup trucks, which are segments that are only starting to be electrified.
Rivian believes its electric trucks, the R1T pickup and R1S SUV, could convince some police departments to electrify their fleet based on a patent application.
The automaker has filed a patent for a seat designed for police offers who are wearing a gun, which can be uncomfortable without side support:
“The present inventors have observed a need for improved vehicle seating for first responder and specialty automotive vehicles, such as law enforcement vehicles. In particular, the present inventors have observed a need for a seat of an automotive vehicle that permits better access to gear worn by a first responder who is a vehicle occupant and that permits greater range of arm motion for such first responders, while maintaining safety considerations for such vehicle occupants.”
Three long-time Rivian designers, James Frye, David Schneide, and Jared Odle are listed as the inventors of the new seat design.
Here are a few drawings of the seat from the Rivian patent application:
The designers explain how the seat design would be useful for law enforcement officers who carry a weapon:
“It will be appreciated that the exemplary vehicle seat, such as described herein may provide substantial advantages over conventional seating in law enforcement vehicles or other first responder or specialty vehicles by providing occupant seating that permits greater freedom of movement and/or additional seating space for gear-wearing seat occupants via the gaps and formed at the seat back. Law enforcement officers typically carry weapons and other tools that may be attached to their belts or otherwise carried on their bodies. In addition, law enforcement vehicles typically include other gear positioned proximate to a front seat of a driver and/or a passenger, for example, such as laptop computers, other electronic equipment, other weapons and corresponding holders, and other law enforcement devices for which quick and easy access within arm’s reach may typically be required. Such equipment may take up substantial room in the cabin of the law enforcement vehicle that otherwise would be available to permit free movement for occupants in a conventional vehicle. Such body-worn equipment and cabin-mounted equipment can undesirably constrain the movements of law enforcement personnel seated at the front seat of such a law enforcement vehicle.”
The Rivian Owners Forum produced a few renderings of what the Rivian R1T and R1S electric trucks would look like as police vehicles:
As we previously reported, the R1T’s specs are impressive. It’s equipped with 4 electric motors, each a 147 kW power capacity at the wheel, while the total power output can be configured to different levels from 300 kW to 562 kW (input to gearbox).
The different power levels match different choices of battery packs, which are another impressive feature since they have the highest capacity of any other passenger electric vehicle out there: 105 kWh, 135 kWh, and 180 kWh.
Rivian says that it will translate to “230+ miles, 300+ miles, and 400+ miles” of range on a full charge.
They’re talking about a charge rate of up to 160 kW at fast-charging stations and an 11-kW onboard charger for level 2 charging.
It has a towing capacity with a trailer weight rating of 5,000 kg – that’s 11,000 lbs.
Rivian announced that the vehicle will start at $69,000 before incentives, but after Tesla announced the Cybertruck with similar specs for much cheaper, the company said it will lower its price.
The Rivian R1S electric SUV is built on the same platform and has similar specs.
The two electric vehicles are expected to go into production at the end of the year.