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  • Writer's pictureSean Sassoon

Comparing the Rivian R1T to the Tesla CyberTruck

It's been over 5 weeks that I have owned the the Tesla CyberTruck and I feel it's time to really compare it to the Rivian R1T, which I've owned for 9 months now. It's worth noting that I would have never purchased the Rivian R1T if Tesla would have delivered the CyberTruck on time. I ordered both vehicles when they both were announced, but after waiting 3.5 years for the CyberTruck, I took delivery of the R1T, however with compromises.

So let's talk about the Rivian R1T. Rivian set out to build it's first vehicle with the idea of innovation in mind, adding to the Truck concept by bringing innovation into the mix. They wouldn't go completely overboard like Tesla, but they did bring new things into the picture. Upon first glance the Rivian R1T looks like a slick new truck, not to dissimilar from current truck models, but adding new features like a Frunk because there's no physical engine. Accessories like the Bluetooth Speaker which charges when it's locked in, and the the flashlight built into the driver's door that charges when locked in place. And then there's the Tonneau, a really need innovation that adds additional storage, but also takes storage away from the bed of the truck. The Rivian R1T gives truck owners the ability to pull into tight parking spaces with the Arial View, which stitches together the camera feeds to create a significant sense of vehicle dimension when it comes to pulling in and out of tight places. The Sheer power this vehicle has is shocking as you would never expect it from a Pick-up truck. It boggles the mind and is an absolute joy when putting the peddle to the metal. Adjustable Heights air suspension gives you the ability to stay low to the ground and with efficiency or higher off the ground when driving through floods.

Charging is simple as you can plug in at home or any charging station, as long as they're working. Don't get me started. That has been the biggest sticking point prior to being added to Tesla's charging network. I am currently waiting for my adapter. That's not the only thing I have been waiting on. When I originally ordered the R1T, I ordered it with the electric bed cover, however there was a point that if I wanted to take earlier delivery I could order the Quad Motor without the cover because at that time Rivian was having issues with the electric covers. I thought sure, I'll just order the manual bed cover when it's in stock. 9 months later and still can't order it. I check the ordering page daily. It's been 9 months now and it really has taken me over the brink. Rivian just doesn't seem to care about giving existing customers a timeline as they introduce newer models to their line up. Since taking delivery of the R1T, the only significant issue that has come up has been the Tailgate sensor that would indicate the tailgate was open when it was clearly closed. I actually put off servicing it for 3 months because the closest Rivian Service location was in Doral (Miami, FL) a trek to get to. When I eventually brought it in for the repair, it took them 2 hours as they had to peel the Rivian like a union to get to the source of the problem, but they resolved it leaving me satisfied. I will share the only thing I notice consistently about the R1T is that I really feel each and every bump. It's not nearly as smooth as I anticipated, especially when driving over train tracks.

Now, on to the Tesla CyberTruck. As I mentioned before I have owned the CyberTruck (CT for short) for 5 weeks, but 3 of those weeks the CT was spent in service. 4 days after taking delivery of it, I was met with a catastrophic power failure that made the vehicle underivable. When I say customer service for Tesla is completely different compared to Rivian, I have to be honest... there's no comparison. Tesla doesn't believe it much communication, stating that the App is the place to go when it comes to communication. I will say that from Day #1 communication with Tesla has been arduous at best. As someone who has owned two Model 3's and a Model Y. Tesla's communication has fallen too the wayside. When it came time to configure my CT, Tesla never sent me an email. I checked the App several times a day as I heard people were receiving the option to configure without receiving email notifications. Sure enough I would configure it and start Tesla's step by step process which is designed to limit any and all personal interaction with actual people. It seems like Tesla's idea of customer service is about limiting any and all interaction with customers altogether. So when the CyberTruck would have its first issue and the delays for repair started popping up, week over week. I attempted to contact Tesla over the phone, through the app, and eventually by email. I would finally get a response from someone 2.5 weeks into the repair that the issue had to do with a part that had to be ordered from the Austin Manufacturing floor. I would conduct my own research and discover half a dozen customers with the same issue and again a common thread, a lack of communication from Tesla. The experience would be so frustrating that I would attempt to reach out to several online publications, none of which responded and then eventually completing a claim on the website. All my attempts to receive answers were unsuccessful and when it came time to pick-up my repaired CT, I was not given an explanation, just a print out of the repair that read like medication instructions, a bill for the repair (that would later be refunded by check), and no explanation or assurance this issue would not return. To say the whole experience was frustrating would be an understatement. So my review is based on the 4 days after I took delivery followed by the week and a half I've had to drive it recently (after the repair).

As you know, Tesla wasn't bluffing when they decided to produce a truck that would turn our concept of a truck on its side. Tesla's Elon Musk basically copied the playbook for Steve Jobs iPhone Release, which was to produce and entirely new product in an already saturated industry and make it earth shattering. Its rigid new design would create instant lovers and haters. In many ways it, it lends merit to something I used to talk about when I was a training and development manager on cruise ships and software trainer in the automotive industry, something I call the 20/60/20 rule. This rule can be found in a number of iterations. When introducing any change this is the breakdown of adoption:

  • 20% will love it, will adopt it, and will run with it.

  • 60% will be on the fence, won't know what to think.

  • 20% will absolutely hate it and will fight you every step of the way.

So how to you ensure success. You focus all your energy on the 20% who are early adopters. They will eventually turn the other 60% into people who like it. The trick is not to acknowledge the 20% who hate it. If you respond to their hatred of the new concept, they will convert the 60% who are on the fence against you. And that's exactly what I've seen while driving the truck. 20% are pointing, giving thumbs up, taking selfies. In fact last night while charging the vehicle, I stepped away to walk in the mall. When I returned, a young gentleman had setup a tripod in front of the truck and was video recording and taking photos advertising his driving service as having the new CyberTruck. Who am I to judge? I thought it was a little strange. The fact is that the vehicle attracts tons of attention. Regardless, if you are someone who's naturally shy, this is not the vehicle for you.

So let's talk about the CyberTruck. At first glance the response most commonly received is that the Truck looks so much bigger or more menacing than expected. In fact, when you place the CT and the R1T side by side, the CT looks massive, but there are a few things to mention. First the Frunk feels significantly smaller, which is a bit of a disappointment. Next the CT just looks dangerous with all the sharp edges. It appears to be so big, it's hard not to look at it and stair. The windshield wiper is probably the most talked about item. It's big. People can't help but to notice the tonneau cover, more specifically how much space there is when it's open. Overall, most people are just left amazed. After driving without any kind of Bed Cover for 9 months, I'm absolutely in love with the CT's bed cover that is fully electric and standard with the vehicle. It isn't waterproof, but it's amazing that it's rated for 300 lbs of weight. Yes, I can stand on it and it actually works (Future photos coming).

Now comparing the two vehicles, the CyberTruck doesn't feel like it moves as fast as the R1T, however, where it lacks in speed, it more than makes up for in turns, comfort, agility, and luxury. I will admit the most common nick names that people make for the CyberTruck are "refrigerator" (haters) and "spaceship" (lovers). I don't think anything about it. I think as a culture, we just respond to what's on our minds. I think politicians and celebrity's have removed the filter and made it acceptable to say outlaid what we are thinking so most people are not restrained by their thoughts, they just blurt them out loud. Where comparing the two, I wish I had the speed of the Rivian with the uniqueness of the CT. Adding the wrap to the CT was a game changer when it came to keeping it clean and washing it. I think Tesla would've received more positive reviews if they would have offered it wrapped instead of its raw stainless steel form. Look at any stainless steel appliance. They look awesome when they are clean. They look hideous and aged when they are dirty. I feel disappointed with the CyberTruck when I drive it that one of Tesla's signature pieces FSD and AutoPilot have not been released yet. It really makes it feel like it's worth less than what I paid, which is $20,000 more than I expected and that's after the price had almost doubled since its release. That part of it I get. Look home values and product prices have increased significantly over the last 4.5 years, but the $20,000 additional price tag for a product that is effectively a shell of what it was advertised, without the signature that makes Tesla Tesla, makes all of us early adopters feel like fools, especially when 4 days after we take delivery the CT is underivable. Can you tell, that I am not over it. Tesla's lack of communication doesn't give me confidence about the future. To this day, I am supposed to drive 500 miles and I have concerns if my CT will make it, but I know at some point I will have to bite the bullet and pull the trigger. Ultimately, only time will tell. I hope my investment pans out.

Comparison Chart of both owned vehicles

Rivian R1T

Tesal CyberTruck


Quad Motor - All Wheel Drive

All Wheel Drive


3.0 Sec

4.1 Sec


328 miles

340 miles (470 Range Extender)




Max Height









Width (mirrors folded)





$80,000.00 (Founder’s ($100,000)

Frunk Storage


7.1 cu

Bed Length/Width







7,148 lbs

6,603 lbs

Steering Type

Rack Pinion

4-wheel directional (steer by wire)

Turning Circle



Tonneau Cover

Must order (waiting 9 months)

Standard (electric)

Portable Speaker



Arial Parking Cameras


Individual Views

Auto Pilot

Stay in Lane/Cruise Control

None Yet




Please feel free to share your questions or comments.

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