There is a new player in the electric vehicle game and its first two products have got people calling the startup's founder the Elon Musk of electric pickup trucks.
Rivian Automotive has been hard at work for nine years designing vehicles around what it believes are future trends in mobility.
This week at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the company finally unveiled the fruits of its labors: an all-electric pickup truck and SUV. The vehicles may have been a long time coming but that is because their creators were determined not to disappoint.
Getting the pieces aligned
“It would’ve been easy to make statements early on and show sketches,” Rivian founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe said. “But we wanted to get all the pieces aligned: To build out a robust team with robust processes, get capital in place, line up key suppliers, acquire a large-scale production facility, and align it with our products."
“We’ve intentionally made sure that we’re doing things that people don’t believe to be possible.” - #Rivian Founder and CEO @RJScaringe on starting a car company from scratch. Watch the full documentary “This is Rivian” on our blog, Rivian Stories, here: https://t.co/Xc9CHO5UESpic.twitter.com/tFuB8A2Fws— Rivian (@Rivian) December 3, 2018
Scaringe added that the path to their impressive unveiling has been nothing but easy. "It’s been blood, sweat, and tears for a period of years to get in a position where we’re very comfortable showing our products," he said.
The cars, called the R1T and R1S, are marketed by the firm as "high-end adventure vehicles" that can be driven on- or off-road. “They’re designed to be comfortable to use and invite you to get dirty,” Scaringe explained.
“When I say truck or SUV, you’re thinking inefficient and not particularly sophisticated. But we’ve used technology to make the traditional weaknesses of these vehicles strengths.”
And that's not all! Both the R1T and R1S come equipped with self-driving capabilities on highways powered by an elegant hardware suite including cameras and sensors. The vehicles also boast a quad-motor setup that lets the electronic control unit send 147 kilowatts of power to each wheel making them speedy as hell!
The models can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and 0 to 100 miles per hour in less than seven seconds and Scaringe claims their ride and handling is more sports sedan than truck or SUV. The founder also says they can “go off-road better than any vehicle on the planet today.”
But perhaps the most impressive trait of Rivian's vehicles is their battery configuration. Already referred to as “skateboard architecture,” these battery packs stretch across the floor of the vehicle, allowing the largest of the packs to give the vehicles over 400 miles in range.
That's because Rivian assembles its own battery packs using proprietary cooling systems that Scaringe claims are unrivaled today. “We’re doing all of the electronics, control systems, and battery packaging in-house,” Scaringe said.
The vehicles both feature stylish exteriors and interiors and come with a 330-liter front trunk and a long compartment under the rear seats. Rivian is now listing the R1S at $65,000 and the R1T at $61,500 after federal tax rebates. You may want to start saving your pennies although it should be noted the firm also claims to have plans to release lower-priced cars in the future.