Rivian has kept a relatively low profile since the start of the automotive business with Midwest roots launched in 2009.
These days are over.
CEO and founder, RJ Scaringe, unveiled this week, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, two 100% electric vehicles offering mind-blowing batteries, as well as outstanding performance and outstanding features.
Rivian debuted the week by unveiling the R1T, a rugged-looking 5-passenger electric pickup. On Tuesday, Scaringe took a notch with the introduction of an all-electric 7-seater SUV.
Rivian is expected to start producing the pickup and SUV by 2020.
Nuts and bolts
Customers will be able to choose from different configurations of battery packs. But initially, Rivian will first manufacture vehicles with the highest level of performance and longer battery life – a battery pack with a capacity of 180 kilowatt hours that can travel 410 km on a single charge. A pack of 135 kWh will also be available at launch. A basic model equipped with a 105 kWh battery that will have more than 250 km of autonomy will follow in 2021, the company announced.
Both vehicles share the same "skateboard" architecture, which places the battery in the center of the vehicle upstairs. This low and central battery location, similar to Tesla's configuration, provides this low center of gravity that helps provide stellar maneuverability on winding roads. The high-performance versions of the vehicles will be able to travel from 0 to 100 km / h in 3 seconds and reach a top speed of around 200 km / h.
The R1T pickup has a base price of $ 69,000 before the federal tax credit. The R1S SUV starts at $ 72,500. Customers can pre-order vehicles with a refundable deposit of $ 1,000. Both vehicles will be produced at Rivian's manufacturing facility in Normal, Illinois, at a former Mitsubishi plant.
The vehicles offer other features for the more adventurous, including the ability to wade in water up to 3 feet of water, lockable storage bins for gear, a transmission tunnel (who would not want that) and a four-wheel drive all-wheel drive. This last element deserves to be deepened.
Rivian's vehicle has two engines by axle. Ewrong engine individually controls the wheel. It do not a center charger; these engines are mounted in the body and each sends a couple to each wheel for precise control. This particular design is intended to provide agility at high speeds, particularly on unpaved surfaces.
Not a killer of Tesla
Do not consider these vehicles as "Tesla killers" – a term applied to every new vehicle or electric motor concept that debuted at the auto show in recent years. Instead, Rivian vehicles, with their rugged and sophisticated look, could end up competing with the Range Rovers of the world.
Rivian does not really want to be a Tesla. Instead, the company is targeting this Patagonia sweet spot brand.
"A lot of the aspiration vehicles tender at be more as a Armani suit, "Scaringe told TechCrunch in a recent interview. "These brands have more functional items, almost like Armani casual wear, but there is no one who has focused and focused on that. Patagoniaas a mark position. "
Of course, Rivian still has to succeed in developing and producing not one but two vehicles in two years. The company raised $ 450 million in equity and debt from investors, including Sumitomo Corporation of Americas. (It looks like a big figure until you try to produce a vehicle.)
The company has grown and changed since its launch almost ten years ago in Florida as Mainstream Motors. Rivian, a name she adopted in 2011, is no longer in Florida and is much bigger nowadays. The company currently employs approximately 600 people, spread across four US development sites and one UK office. The bulk of its employees, about 300, are in Michigan to get close to a vast automotive supply chain.
The company is also present in San Jose, California, and Irvine, California, where engineers are working on autonomous vehicle technology. Rivian bought in 2017 the Normal plant, in which, in a joint venture with Diamond Corporation, Mitsubishi, produced among others Mitsubishi Eclipse, Plymouth Laser and Dodge Avenger.
About 65 employees work in the 2.4 million square foot plant, which is being converted to meet Rivian's needs.
"It was a establishment this had more than 3000 people job the just a little years back, "said Scaringe, referring to the Illinois plant. "THey really understand what he take at function so a large part of our time of get this establishment was at access the talent base, this the the hand of work c & # 39; qualified and ready at go. "