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Rivian R1T Crowned as MotorTrend's 2022 Truck of the Year

‘The all-electric Rivian R1T is the most remarkable pickup truck we’ve ever driven,’ says the influential car- and truck-rating magazine.

Tesla’s  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report rear-view mirror is getting a little crowded.

Automotive magazine and influential car and truck rater MotorTrend on Monday announced that Rivian Automotive's  (RIVN) - Get Rivian Automotive, Inc. Class A Report all-electric Rivian R1T has been crowned its 2022 Truck of the Year, naming the first mass-produced electric truck to hit the U.S. market "the most remarkable truck MotorTrend has ever driven."

“The Rivian R1T is a monumental achievement and astonishes with a quality of design, engineering, materials, and technology unmatched in trucks today, while providing a driving experience like that of a high-performance luxury car," MotorTrend Group Head of Editorial, Ed Loh, said in a statement announcing the crowning.

The Rivian R1T was judged the 2022 Truck of the Year by excelling in each of MotorTrend’s six key criteria: safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence, and performance of intended function, MotorTrend said.

In doing so, Rivian “delicately” balanced a modern, minimalist EV aesthetic with the quality of materials its price point demands and the functional requirements of a “true” pickup truck, the automotive rater gushed, adding that the technical sophistication of Rivian’s electric drivetrain is "unparalleled."

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The glowing review and announcement did little to move Rivian's stock, which was up 1.6% at $116.50 in premarket trading though still down more than 23% over the past month. 

The Tesla competitor backed by Amazon  (AMZN) - Get, Inc. Report went public last month in an IPO that valued the company at more than $90 billion, above both Ford  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report and General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report.

Rivian said in its prospectus that it will lose up to $1.28 billion in the third quarter, while revenue will range from zero to $1 million. It’s the latest EV company to attract investor capital at a lofty price without yet proving that it has a sustainable business model. 

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To be sure, MotorTrend's unrestrained accolades could well help boost Rivian sales. 

"On a winding road, the R1T’s instantaneous torque vectoring makes it handle better than any other pickup on the market and more like a high-performance luxury car," MotorTrend said. 

"Off-road, it digs through sand, sloshes through mud, and climbs over rocks as well as a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, but with better ground clearance, breakover angle, and departure angle.

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"None of this would matter if it didn’t have the range to get the job done," added MotorTrend, pointing to Rivian’s 135-kWh large battery pack, which delivers 314 miles of range, putting it on par if not above most other non-gas-powered people movers.

Investors will get a chance to pore over Rivian's balance sheet when it releases its final quarterly tally of its numbers on Thursday. Rivian also reportedly plans to announce that is will open a vehicle assembly and battery plant in Atlanta, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

No matter what the numbers show, analysts are revving up for a strong 2022 for several EV makers, including Rivian.

"We believe Rivian is in a very strong competitive position on the EV consumer luxury front and is focusing its efforts on the execution of the R1T and R1S 91 scheduled for deliveries in 2022," Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives wrote in a research note Monday, noting that Rivian already has 48,000 pre-orders for its R1 platform (S&T) in addition to 100,000 Amazon initial orders for their last-mile delivery vehicles. 

"We expect to get more tea leaves on demand and deliveries/timing when Rivian reports its first earnings report on Thursday after the bell."