A Rivian R1T has been photographed with special-use license plates at Mercedes-AMG headquarters. This could signal that AMG is using the electric pickup truck to benchmark its own G-Wagen EV, the EQG—though the evidence is far from conclusive.
This photo of the truck was taken by @rollendereporter on Instagram, who told The Drive he spotted the truck parked outside AMG’s facility in Affalterbach, Germany. Mercedes’ website says this location houses “development and design of AMG vehicles, as well as the engine production facility, and management, administration and sales,” meaning this is basically AMG HQ. The truck’s presence there is unusual in its own right, as Rivian doesn’t sell yet vehicles in Germany, but what really stands out is its plate, and what it might mean for why the truck is there.
For starters, the plate starts with “LB,” indicating it’s registered in Ludwigsburg, where Affalterbach-based vehicles apparently must be registered. Secondly, the plate has red lettering that’s not easily (if at all) attainable by the general public, which could stand for one of two things. It’s either a “special use” plate (whose significance seemingly isn’t recorded on the English internet) or a dealer plate, either of which could indicate ownership by Mercedes corporate.
Mercedes is developing an electric version of its G-Class (or G-Wagen) off-roader, the EQG, and would naturally benefit from understanding the competing R1T’s capabilities. Using the Rivian as a benchmark isn’t the only possibility, however, and this plate on its own doesn’t explicitly prove the truck is owned by AMG.
2022 Rivian R1Ts off-roading in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. James Gilboy
It may be possible that the truck was obtained during the period when Mercedes and Rivian were interested in partnering on electric vans, and that the truck was sent over during the early phases of the now-canceled negotiations. These plates are also not widely used on manufacturer-owned test vehicles, which often use regular plates as you’ve no doubt seen in countless videos of prototypes hitting the Nürburgring. That leaves open the possibility that the Rivian was just imported by a dealer—Europeans who can afford pricey American performance cars to begin with can often afford the higher-performing versions of said vehicles. Someone who sells AMGs, for example, could probably afford to import a Rivian.
While it’s impossible to be certain why there’s a Rivian R1T there, the photo gives us something to chew on if nothing else. It’s fun to imagine an electric SUV that eclipses the Rivian R1T’s capabilities, especially one that does so with the panache of Mercedes’ stalwart off-road icon.
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