Takeaways from a 13,000-mile, All-Electric Journey

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s Long Way Round series is to overland motorcycling the equivalent of the “face that launched a thousand ships.” Inspired by Boorman and McGregor’s journey around the world by motorcycle, countless overland motorcyclists have taken off to traverse the globe and follow in the tire tread marks they left behind. In the most recent iteration of the Long Way brand, the duo traveled from Ushuaia, Argentina to Los Angeles, California and called the journey Long Way Up.

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman Image: Apple TV

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman Image: Apple TV

Instead of the BMWs they made famous in Long Way Round, the bike of choice for this ride was the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle. As such, it was only fitting that the support vehicle to accompany them would also be electric: two Rivian R1T electric pick-up trucks made the 13,000-mile trip.

Image: Rivian

Image: Rivian

The vehicle selection was not only “on-brand” for this production, but the Rivian R1Ts 400-mile range enabled the trucks to travel ahead and establish charging points for the 146-mile range LiveWire motorcycles. 


In a video released in August of 2020, Rivian was frank about the R1Ts that were sent to South America being somewhat “prototypey” as they were built quickly to suit the production timeline of Long Way Up. The team expressed excitement over the data a journey like this would enable them to collect about the vehicles in order to improve the final product that is expected to be delivered in June of 2021: “We’ll get a better product at the end of the day, because this is a pretty epic adventure and if they can get through this, I think they’ll get through pretty much anything.” 

With the release date quickly approaching, Rivian showed off one of their new-and-improved R1Ts to Producer, David Alexanian, who had driven in one of the prototype R1Ts through 13 countries during the filming of Long Way Up. Rivian’s engineers explained to Alexanian that virtually every aspect of the vehicle had been improved after the rigorous 100-day test-journey, from the battery, to the cooling system to a full redesign of the front end. (Apparently, the original front end design did not fare so well and needed to be rebuilt for Rivian even teamed up with Pirelli to make a tire specifically for the R1T.

Alexanian raved about the appearance, the handling and the comfort of the new model, calling it “tighter, smoother and more responsive” than the vehicle they drove through South America. When asked if he wanted to drive, Alexanian said “I want to drive if I can drive it home.” Which is perhaps what any of us who are anxiously awaiting the June 2021 release would also say.

Header Image: Rivian

Photo by Brett Willhelm


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