Rivian has a certain Tesla element to it. An outsider to the traditional auto market and one of many obscure names that have offered up a series of concept vehicles over the past few years. However, with Rivian there’s a difference.
Two of its biggest backers are Amazon and Ford. Rivian is developing a next-generation battery for Ford’s EV portfolio that would also use Rivian’s skateboard platform. And in addition to Amazon’s investment, it has a contract for Rivian to build it 100,000 electric delivery vans – 10,000 of which will be due by the end of 2022.
Rivian isn’t just developing for other people, though. Its first vehicle, the R1T pickup, is due to go into production this month in Illinois, while its second vehicle, the R1S 4x4 truck, is due to follow (though currently on hold).
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Reservations are full for the launch edition of the R1T, which features a 300+ mile range and starts from $73,000 (£53k/AU$100k). However, two more editions – the adventure package and explorer package – are due to start delivery in January 2022. A long-range 400+ mile range version and a more affordable 250-mile range version are also due next year.
The design is somewhere in the middle of the out-there Tesla Cybertruck and the conservative Ford F-150. It features a short rear flat bed, a cab that seats five, a front trunk and a gear tunnel behind the back seats. There’s also a camp kitchen that extends from the side of the truck, providing two induction hobs a work, a collapsible sink and work surface. This is a vehicle designed for outdoor adventure rather than the building site.
Inside, the Rivian R1T promises true hands-free driving assistance powered by its own hardware system known as Driver+. There’s automatic steering, braking, lane change and vehicle alerts, and updates will be provided all over the air – at no extra cost.
According to Bloomberg, the public IPO is planned to take place around the Thanksgiving holiday (November 25), though this depends on final approvals. With this capital behind it, Rivian could be real competition for Tesla, and for more traditional motor companies.