If you haven’t noticed, the 2022 rivian r1t is a revolutionary pickup truck—and not only because it’s the first fully electric, off-road-capable pickup to reach customers’ hands. The R1T has so many boundary-pushing features and such clever design aimed at off-grid adventures, we’d still be breathlessly talking about it even if it was fueled with gas. We’ve covered its McLaren-style cross-linked suspension, its built-in camp kitchen option that lives in its equally incredible cross-body Gear Tunnel, its frunk, and even its spare tire location. We’re still poring over the truck looking for more, which leads us to the built-in air compressor that’s standard across most of the R1T lineup.
Why is a built-in air compressor useful? Let’s pump through a few scenarios. Say you’re making your way across Moab, Utah, the hard way in your fancy new R1T. To scramble up and over some of the area’s famed rock features, you figure it’s a good idea to let some air out of your Rivian’s tires. Doing so increases the size of their contact patches (and, thus, low-speed grip) and takes some of the sting out of sharper bumps and thumps. Good plan—but who wants to limp their truck to the nearest gas station looking for an air pump after leaving the trail?
Look, this is 2021, and Rivian’s engineering crew acted accordingly. It placed an electric air compressor in the R1T’s driver’s side bedside that’s capable of inflating the truck’s tires. Simply motor back the R1T’s tonneau cover, lower the tailgate, flip up a little door on the inside wall to your left, and you’ll see it. This air compressor is truly built in—you won’t fumble with a portable little cylindrical compressor unit; instead, after lifting the setup’s plastic door up out of the way, you’ll see a digital readout for psi (pounds per square inch, a pressure unit) flanked by buttons marked with up and down arrows, as well as an air hose hookup.
To use this clever widget, simply hook up a quick-connect air hose and set your desired pressure in psi (using those up and down buttons). Then connect the other end of the hose to whatever you need to inflate. The compressor stops blowing automatically when it reaches your preset pressure. Rivian offers an Air Compressor Accessories kit that includes 20 feet of air hose, a male universal quick-connect nozzle, an inflation needle, a ball needle, and an adapter for Presta and Schrader valves.
Yes, the 20 feet of hose can reach all four tires from the bed-mounted compressor. And tires aside, you can’t overestimate the usefulness of an air supply in an outdoorsy situation: Have a camp mattress or an inflatable raft? No more huffing and puffing, your Rivian can air it up for you. With all those connectors and valves included, you can also inflate bicycle tires, negating the need to pack a separate bike pump. For the record, the compressor can deliver up to 150 psi.
We used the Rivian’s air compressor several times during our cross-country off-road Trans-America Trail escapade with the R1T this summer, reinflating the tires after particularly challenging rock-crawling and sand-running situations. But, again, you needn’t commit to a 7,000-mile jaunt across America to get some use out of that compressor. We can see ourselves using the air hose to blow dust or mud off the wheels and out of the bed; it’s great for cleaning prep. And, hey, if one compressor isn’t enough, the 2022 rivian r1t has 110-volt AC outlets opposite the compressor in the bed, along with a 12-volt outlet (and another in the frunk). Any of them could power a portable compressor, should you for some reason need that much pressurized air.
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