The most popular model at this week’s Los Angeles Auto Present is Rivian. Wait, what? Who’s Rivian? What’s Rivian? When can I purchase one? How a lot?
The thin: Rivian is a startup with far more than an Indiegogo dream. It has precise cash, and it purchased a former Mitsubishi manufacturing plant in Illinois in 2017 for $16 million. The manufacturing unit already has the tooling Rivian must construct automobiles. It additionally has workplaces in Detroit and Silicon Valley. It’s actual and since 2009 it’s been constructing towards this week, when it an introduced an all-electric pickup truck with a spread of 400 miles and a seven-passenger SUV.
Rivian’s technique is wise. The primary promoting car in America is the Ford F-150. Rivian’s R1T truck can gun from Zero-60mph in three seconds flat. (Nope, no inventory F-150 can do this.) That will seem to be overkill, however you wish to blow minds to attraction to skeptics. Tesla offered first to guys who might afford to purchase Ferraris. This is similar thought besides you’re speaking to truck homeowners. In doing this, CEO RJ Scaringe has made it clear that promoting electrical vans and large SUVs is the quickest strategy to scale back essentially the most carbon. These patrons aren’t going to get right into a Prius. However certainly one of these dangerous boys?
Oh, sure, that very same stand up and go is promised within the seven-passenger SUV, the R1S, that was revealed right this moment.
However the revolution is basically not about making an enormous car like this go quick. That’s the sizzle. The steak is within the skateboard platform, a battery pack within the flooring with motors at each wheel, permitting a modular “high” that takes completely different types so you’ll be able to construct an SUV or pickup on the identical line.
What’s cool, too, is how ditching an engine and a typical driveline permits a lot extra creativity. There’s a entrance trunk in each; within the pickup there’s a novel storage tunnel within the in any other case useless house behind the cab however forward of the mattress. Additionally they designed a really intelligent rack rail system that may slot into the rooftop, within the mattress, or within the hatch of the R1S, which supplies you a tie-down system wherever you want it. And there’s the in-bed spare tire storage that just about certainly is a foul thought if you happen to do really get a flat, however positive, it seems neat. There’s additionally a built-in compressor, helpful if you happen to air-down and must re-inflate once you hit civilization.
And there’s the truth that a truck or crossover with totally impartial air suspension and no uncovered motor or transmission gives as much as 14.three inches of off-road floor clearance however a “kneeling” entry top of eight inches. Add in all that weight within the flooring, and adaptive dampers and theoretically you get wonderful anti-roll traits that permit a fairly forgiving street trip that’s nonetheless agile off street. We’ve pushed Jaguar’s new I-Tempo EV and that’s precisely what it looks like.
Rivian didn’t reveal all the main points about how the car works off-road, however promised the equal of “geared” functionality, and even the power to run, say, one of many motors in reverse in an effort to tighten the steering radius of a fragile crawl. Its signing of outside journey photographer Ben Moon as an envoy suggests at the very least a nod within the outback path.
Beneath-vehicle skid plating is designed to guard each rigs once you’re out within the wild, and Rivian says they’ve very a lot focused these for precise off-roading, not posing, therefore the promise of 180 kW battery/400 miles of vary. At dwelling they are saying you’ll get to 80 p.c juice in an hour on DC quick charging, and an onboard 11kW onboard charger will permit faster re-juicing within the subject at Stage 2 charging stations. As for possession, that’ll value you $61,500 for the truck, with deliveries beginning late 2020, with the SUV following in 2021.
Is Rivian loopy to be launching a complete new car model the day after GM introduced it’s shedding 15,000 employees as a result of its automotive gross sales are slowing? Within the U.S. automotive gross sales are down by about 1 million items vs. this time final 12 months.
Automobiles aren’t promoting. Vans and SUVs are. And throughout the board, the normal automotive gross sales mannequin is altering radically, too. Tesla solely makes electrical automobiles, similar to Rivian, and that’s what’s forcing GM and each different carmaker to rethink what they promote and even what a automotive “sale” seems like. Gross sales are definitely being damage by Trump’s metal tariffs, however the larger influence is that youthful persons are pushing aside automotive buying altogether. Why purchase when you’ll be able to take a Lyft? Who wants the added debt?
On the automotive present this week, Volvo is exhibiting…nothing. On the heart of its stand is a intelligent piece of artwork that reads “That is Not a Automotive.” Volvo’s latest “mannequin” isn’t a automotive, however a wildly profitable subscription service it launched not too long ago known as Care by Volvo, the place you pay a flat price to make use of a Volvo for a 12 months after which can swap to a different mannequin if you happen to like. In contrast to a lease, all prices are included. The insurance coverage, all upkeep, and so on. come for the month-to-month price of $699 or $799, relying on the mannequin. Possession was a fad, Volvo appears to be saying. Lexus, Audi, Ford, and GM, are all shifting this path.
And, sure, so is Rivian.