If Ford's decision earlier this year is not proof, GM's announcement this week should dispel any doubt: the Americans are done with the sedan. Like it or not, trucks and SUVs have won, bode well for one of the newest marketers, a startup called Rivian. This week, the company finally unveiled its first two products, the R1T, a 100% electric van starting at $ 61,500, and the R1S, a seven-seat electric SUV starting at $ 65,000.
Both models are designed for the ground and share a skateboard deck (common to most battery electric vehicles, the battery pack staying between the axles and under the cockpit). Rivian will offer three different battery sizes in both vehicles; at launch, you can choose packs of 180 kWh (and 400 miles) or 135 kWh (500 miles), with a third configuration of 105 kWh (390 km) six months after the start of production in 2020. Batteries are capable of recharging up to 160 kW on a DC fast charger, and are also equipped with an integrated 11 kW charger.
The R1T and R1S models are equipped with four electric motors (one per wheel) and variable power and torque levels depending on the size of the battery. Interestingly, the 135 kWh pack gets the highest power output (562 kW / 754 hp); 180kWh vehicles must be satisfied with 522kW / 700hp. Both make an identical 1200Nm / 855ft-lb. (The 105 kWh configuration will include 300 kW / 402 hp and 560 Nm.) The R1T will have a payload capacity of 800 kg and a trailer capacity of 5,000 kg.
As Elon Musk, president and CEO of Tesla, likes to tell people, launching a new car company in the United States is not easy, as it is obvious to look Faraday Future and the various struggles of Lucid. But Rivian seems to do everything right. I spoke to the founder and CEO of the company, RJ Scaringe, earlier this year, while Rivian was still in stealth mode and left feeling impressed. His management team and board of directors are filled with veterans of the industry and he certainly seems aware of potential pitfalls. Since then, its size has also doubled from 300 to 600 employees.
The company has divided its efforts geographically to have the best access to regional talent pools. The facilities in California are responsible for battery-related technologies and software (Irvine), connected services and autonomous driving (San Jose). Vehicle design and engineering teams are based in Plymouth, Michigan, and the company owns a 2.6 million square foot plant at Normal, in Illinois; it acquired the ex-Mitsubishi factory in January 2017. R1T deliveries are expected to begin in 2020, followed by the R1S SUV in 2021.
Registration image of Rivian