If Ford's decision at the beginning of this year was not a proof, then GM announcement this week should remove all the doubts: Americans are finished with a sedan. I like it or not, won cars and SUVs and that's good for one of the newest players on the market, a rival called the Rivian. This week Rivian finally unveiled its first two products – R1T, an electric pickup truck starting at $ 61,500 and R1S, a seven-seat electric SUV that starts at $ 65,000. (Both prices are after IRS tax interest of $ 7500.)
Both are upgraded designs that share a skateboard platform (common to most rechargeable electric vehicles, with a battery that lives between the axles and under the passenger compartment). Rivián offers three different battery sizes in both vehicles; you can choose either 180kWh (or 400milions) or 135kWh (310km / 500km), with a third configuration of 105kWh (240 miles / 390km), which comes six months after the start of production in 2020. Batteries are capable of charging up to 160kW per fast charger DC and are also equipped with 11kW onboard charger.
Both R1T and R1S are equipped with four electric motors – one per wheel and varying power levels and torque depending on battery size. Interestingly enough, the 135 kWh package gets the most power (562 kW / 754 hp); vehicles with a power of 180 kWh have to deal with only 522 kW / 700 hp. Both make the same 1200Nm / 855ft-lbs. (The 105kWh configuration comes with 300kW / 402hp and 560Nm / 413ft-lbs.) R1T will have a payload of 800kg and a trailer of 5,000kg.
As CEO of Tesla Elon Musk likes to say to people, a new car company in the US is starting to be easy, something that is evident from watching Faraday Future and Lucid's various struggles. The Rivian seems to be doing everything right. I spoke to the founder of the company and CEO RJ Scaring at the beginning of this year, while Rivián was still in a secret regime and he was impressed. Its management team and board are both packed with veterans in the industry and the company is certainly aware of potential pitfalls. Since then it has also doubled, from 300 to 600 employees.
The company has divided its geographic efforts to gain the best access to regional talent pools. Appliances in California are responsible for battery and software (Irvine) and related services and autonomous management (San Jose). Project and engineering vehicle teams are located in Plymouth, Michigan, and the company has 2.6 million square feet in Normal, Illinois; it acquired the ex-Mitsubishi factory in January 2017. R1T supplies are scheduled to start in 2020, with the R1S SUV following in 2021.
Images from Rivian