Will R.J. Scaringe become the Elon Musk of pickup trucks? Scaringe unveiled the first-of-its-kind R1T, an all-electric adventure pickup truck, at the LA Auto Show last November. The truck’s beautiful design and unique storage compartments (made possible by laying the batteries flat along the floor) turned heads, but it was looked at by some as just another hyped-up hopeful prototype. That all changed last week when Amazon announced they would be investing $700 million into the company.
“I started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have, to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation,” says R.J., who is CEO and founder of the company. Rivian’s approach and slick marketing videos are geared towards high-end, aspirational adventure drivers. How, or why, Amazon is interested in targeting the luxury driver is yet to be seen. A fully electric Amazon delivery truck seems much more likely.
The truck has some impressive specs and design applications, all centered around the “skateboard” drive system that provides each wheel its own digitally controlled motor. The truck will use a high-energy-density 2170 battery cell (the same type created by Tesla and Panasonic). Production plans call for mechanical work and engineering to be done outside of Detroit, tech work in San Jose, battery development in Irvine, and production and assembly in Normal, Illinois.
The base model should have a 300-mile range, go from zero to 60mph in three seconds, retail for around $69,000, and be available in late 2020. A few thousand bucks more will add an additional 100 miles of range. “It’s really important to make that note; we’re not trying to compete with a $25,000 or $30,000 truck or SUV. This is a very high-performance [vehicle] and very technically advanced in terms of self-driving, in terms of connectivity architecture, in terms of battery size. The segment is going after the people who are spending $70,000 or $80,000 on a GMC Denali or a Chevy Suburban or a Land Rover Discovery or a fully loaded Ford F15,” R.J. told Greentech Media.