Pilot Project With Rivian Driving Protection of East African Ecosystems

Four Rivian R1T trucks made quite a sensation in Nairobi, Kenya a few months ago. When people awoke one morning, they saw that footage of the Rivians driving down a well-known street in Nairobi were trending on Twitter. Since there were no known right-hand drive R1T models and no confirmed reports of Rivian activity in this region, this created a large dispute about how the Rivians had gotten to this part of the earth. The R1T pickups, it turns out, are a part of a trial experiment that was finally made public today.

In an effort to protect our planet and the people who live on it, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) and Rivian , a manufacturer of electric trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles, have announced a pilot project. The cooperation provides some R1T all-electric trucks to MWCT and the Maasai community as well as Rivian’s assistance to help manage MWCT’s protected landscape and community lands throughout South-Eastern Kenya.

Through conservation that directly benefits the Maasai communities, MWCT seeks to preserve the iconic habitats and incredible biodiversity of East Africa. The protection of the ecological treasures that are found on traditional communities’ land, like that owned by the Maasai, is becoming more and more important to the globe. The extraordinary wildness and wildlife of Africa’s grasslands as well as the well-known Maasai culture, however, both face grave risks to their long-term existence.

The MWCT statement also states:

The pilot project is enabling MWCT to carry out essential conservation work in the most effective and environmentally friendly manner possible, including quiet anti-poaching patrols, zero tailpipe-emissions transport for Maasai firefighters, critical on- and off-road ranger operations, to health and education programs. The project started with four R1T electric adventure vehicles currently at work in the Chyulu hills of Kenya. The R1S electric SUVs from Rivian and the Rivian charging network will be integrated into MWCT’s continuous operations in the upcoming months. The MWCT is able to operationalize our objective in a way that prioritizes the planet thanks to the use of all-electric, zero tailpipe-emission adventure vehicles that are all recharged by a cutting-edge photovoltaic system. This is yet another fantastic illustration of how solar PV and EVs go together like peaches and cream.

According to Luca Belpietro, founder and executive director of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, “We’re very excited about this collaboration with Rivian given their intense commitment on addressing our planet’s climate catastrophe and protecting important biodiversity.” “Rivian’s sponsorship of MWCT is already significantly contributing to our work in Kenya and enabling us to carry out our economic, education, health, and conservation projects. With zero tailpipe emissions and necessary features like built-in electrical outlets that allow us to put our equipment directly into the car without the need for an additional power source, the R1T is the ideal vehicle for us. We are grateful to have Rivian as a partner in achieving meaningful sustainability and offering neighborhood services with little harm to the environment.

Few places in the world so deeply and beautifully embody what’s at stake as those under the stewardship of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, according to Rivian Chief Sustainability Officer Anisa Costa. “Rivian believes individuals, organizations, and entire industries must come together to help preserve our natural world for future generations,” she added. “For Rivian, this collaboration with the Maasai people is about extending our collective impact. We are taking extraordinary measures, even before selling a single car outside of the United States, to investigate the special opportunities for community-based social and environmental change that our trucks and SUVs can help make possible. We consider it an honor to be able to use our new resources and tools to safeguard some of Africa’s most famous and significant lands, wildlife, and cultures.

Picture via MWCT

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