Rivian Camp Kitchen

Courtesy of Rivian

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The race to construct the most well liked electrical automobile is on, and the previous guidelines don’t apply. For a glimpse on the form of wacky options that automotive makers are providing to woo drivers, one has to look no additional than Rivian.

The EV start-up has began transport the R1T all-electric light-duty pickup truck and it may well include one of many oddest perks round, one that might by no means present up in a conventional pickup truck—a high-tech kitchen that prices an additional $5,000 on high of the checklist worth of $68,000.

The camp kitchen, because it’s known as, comes with an induction vary that provides immediate warmth to boil water, a sink with a spray-head faucet and a four-gallon water tank, string lights for illumination (and for temper), and straightforward to stow dinnerware. It’s a good distance from a transportable, propane-fired hibachi and paper plates.

The kitchen slides out of the facet of the truck from proper behind the truck cab and extends about 6 ft. It may well stow throughout the truck partly as a result of there is no such thing as a conventional transmission, operating head to tail, to get in the way in which. EV motors, together with the R1T’s, are usually mounted on the axles.

The characteristic can be doable as a result of EV batteries can present ample energy.

An all-electric

Ford Motor

(ticker: F) F-150 Lightning truck, for example, can energy a home for 3 days. Ford hasn’t disclosed the precise dimension of their battery packs, however they’re seemingly within the vary of 140-kilowatt hours. The common U.S. family makes use of about 30-kilowatt hours every day.

(Ford says the truck received’t run itself utterly out of electrical energy, however will go away drivers about 50 miles of vary, at minimal.)

The R1T’s battery pack is 135-kilowatt hours. Working an induction vary with two components together with some lights over a weekend is not any downside.

EVs can do issues like tenting kitchens, however the query is why anybody would wish a kitchen. When requested, an engineer engaged on R1T prototypes informed Barron’s the thought was, primarily, brainstormed by early staff. They wished to make use of the house intelligently and thought of easy methods to improve experiences corresponding to tenting. He examined out early variations, making pasta for his crew.

Rivian Camp Kitchen

Courtesy of Rivian

That form of characteristic shifting into manufacturing is, frankly, spectacular. At a conventional automotive firm like Ford, just a little perk like that might take longer to develop—and contain extra ranges of administration.

Ford has its personal benefits in its quest to be an EV chief, although. The corporate simply introduced the biggest single funding in its 118-year historical past. The corporate is spending $11.4 billion in Kentucky and Tennessee for EV battery and meeting capability.

What corporations like Ford and its conventional auto friends would possibly lack in nimbleness they may attempt to make up in scale.

And Ford CEO Jim Farley tells his executives to “compete like a challenger.” Which means, primarily, competing like Ford is chasing Rivian, which filed paperwork associated to its preliminary public providing of inventory with the Securities and Alternate Fee on October 1. That form of competitors ought to finally profit automobile consumers searching for extra uncommon options operating off EV battery packs.

Even when we don’t really want them.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com