Amazon has been a heavy investor in electric truck startup Rivian. Nearly two years ago, the e-commerce giant pledged a $700 million investment in Rivian, including an order for 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, some of which have already been spotted on the road. Apparently, investing a great deal of money into the startup also gave founder Jeff Bezos the key to unlocking early access to other Rivian products, including its upcoming R1T pickup. Bezos can be seen driving one through the desert in a promotional video for the entrepreneur’s aerospace company, Blue Origin.
Blue Origin launched the 15th test flight of its New Shepard rocket last month, complete with a crewless capsule on top. As the company calls it, the verification step is meant to propel the rocket to the edge of the planet’s atmosphere (and into a few minutes of zero gravity) before sending its capsule back down to earth. The capsule’s descent slowed by three large parachutes which provide a soft landing in the west Texas desert while providing up to six people an otherworldly view of the surroundings.
Following the launch, Bezos himself made his way out to the capsule. He did so in the unreleased R1T with a large feather decal—Blue Origin’s logo—displayed across the side of the electric truck.
Bezos was filmed driving, complete with an oversized cowboy hat, and examining the site where a second R1T can also be seen alongside a Ford F-150 Raptor. While that means the electric pickups weren’t exactly on their own in the desert trek, it’s rather reassuring to see a few R1Ts getting put to work in harsh conditions.
The video itself was a promotion for Blue Origin’s dabbles into space tourism, an all-new attraction for the affluent which offers otherwise ordinary people a trip to space, albeit a suborbital one. More information is set to be released on the flights later this week.
As for the trucks, Rivian is expected to launch its electric R1T pickup in June. The truck boasts upwards of 300 miles of driving range with a three-second zero-to-60 time and a towing capacity of up to 11,000 pounds. A 400-mile version of the R1T is said to debut in 2022 and a 250-mile is on the books with a to-be-determined launch date.
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