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Rivian R1T Hits Traffic Light Pole and Catches Fire in Irvine, California

On September 23, 2021, we told our readers of the first crash involving a Rivian R1T on public roads. Everything happened near the company’s office in Irvine, California. If we were Rivian, we’d move from Irvine or ask a priest to bless the premises: another crash happened in Irvine. Joking aside, the electric pickup truck caught fire after hitting a traffic light pole.
Rivian R1T crashes in Irvine (again) and catches fire 8 photos
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It is not clear whether the vehicle belongs to the company or a regular customer. The R1T presented TOPs (temporary operating permits) instead of final license plates. All we know about the crash relates to what County News managed to discover and share.

According to the publication, this electric pickup truck driver was traveling southbound on I-405 when he took exit 3, heading to Sand Canyon Avenue. One witness told County News that the R1T was too fast, which made it lose control and hit the traffic light pole close at 18239 Sand Canyon Avenue, as the map embedded below shows. The wreck happened at around 9:50 PM.

The driver was alone and left the vehicle with no injuries. He declined medical treatment and can be seen in the video below. County News did not specify if the fire started before the driver could leave the vehicle or a while after he managed to escape.

Surprisingly, the fire seems to have been contained fast, which does not happen very often if the battery pack is affected. From what we can see in the video, only the left side was damaged by the fire. The driver’s door seems to have melted, clearly showing where Rivian applied aluminum to the body.

The R1T did an excellent job protecting the driver, and we’re glad no one was hurt. Either the firefighters were highly competent in dealing with EV fires, or Rivian made its battery pack less prone to massive thermal runaway events. We probably had a combination of both in this case. Too bad that there is one less R1T on the roads.

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Editor's note: The gallery has images of the first crash involving a Rivian R1T.


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