The First Fully Electric Pick-Up Truck Hits the Roads this June

Rivian CEO and founder R.J. Scaringe’s vision is to eliminate the compromises drivers make going Electric. Rivian CEO and founder R.J. Scaringe’s vision is to eliminate the compromises drivers make going Electric.

Hitting U.S roads this summer is a new truck built by Rivian, a Michigan-based start-up. The all-electric R1T hopes to disrupt the pickup-truck market and it just might succeed. 

Trucks have captivated American hearts and traversed America’s roads for almost a century, dominating the U.S. auto market for the past 40 years. Ford’s F-150 ranks as the most popular vehicle of all time, topping the best-selling vehicle category for 39 years and the best-selling pickup truck for 43 years. With three out of every five autos sold in the U.S. being a pickup truck, Rivian is making waves in the auto and financial worlds with its focus on a fully electric pickup truck. 

The R1T is a reimagining of this American favorite: a pickup for the future, here today. Rivian’s decision to target this market makes a lot of sense and the R1T will be the first EV pickup truck to make it to market. A number of automakers are fast on the R1T's heels with 2021 releases: the Bollinger B2, the Lordstown Endurance and Tesla’s cybertruck. Two of the most popular gas-powered pickups will follow in 2022 with the Chevrolet Silverado EV and the classic #1 Ford F-150 is getting fully electrified (F-150 Lighting) . 

Still, the R1T stands to blow the competition away with a “700 horsepower,” lightning-quick acceleration that does a 3.2-second zero-to-60 and will sport the farthest battery range available. Rivian states it will have a range of more than 400 miles. Beating out the current frontrunner, the Tesla Model S 100D, with a battery range of 335 miles. Rivian claims that the R1T can get an 80 percent charge in just 15 minutes when using a DC fast charger and a full charge in eight hours using a Level 2 connection. All-wheel drive is standard on the 2021 R1T and each axle is powered by its own electric motor, allowing the truck to do a “tank turn." Adjustable air suspension comes standard and can change the clearance height from 8 to 14 inches. 

The foundation of the R1T is the skateboard platform, which packages the battery pack, drive units, suspension, braking and thermal system all below the height of the wheel, leaving the space above for occupants and their gear. (photo credit © 2020 Jeff Johnson)

 

There are 3 versions of the R1T and each version has a maximum payload of 1,764 pounds, very close to the payload of the new Ford Ranger. More impressive is the R1T's towing capacity. Rivian says that every R1T is able to tow 11,000 pounds, only a couple thousand pounds less than the Ford F-150's capacity. Towing will affect the R1T's range, but Rivian hasn't said by how much. Rivian's website states their vehicles can traverse the hottest and coldest places on earth— from 130F to -25F.  

The special launch edition begins delivery in June for preorder holders and is marked with a special interior badging and offers an exclusive launch green color. The limited edition comes equipped with the adventure package, which includes an off-road upgrade for maximum capability, plus added features like a powered tonneau cover and a gear guard remote monitoring system. 

Hot on the heels of the R1T, the company will roll out its 2nd production vehicle, the RS1, early in Jan 2022. The seven-passenger SUV takes aim at the Tesla Model X, which is the only other three-row all-electric SUV on the market. The R1S will be cheaper than the Tesla's Model X and shares its battery packs, powertrains, much of its styling, and many of its specs with the R1T.

The R1T and the R1S come with three battery sizes to choose from, 105.0-kWh, 135.0-kWh, and 180.0-kWh, the largest of which Rivian claims has a 410-mile range. Both vehicles have semi-autonomous capabilities and are designed for off-road use and normal usage.

Rivian's camp kitchen slides out from the R1T's gear tunnel and is powered by the vehicle battery. (photo credit @ Rivian)

 

The company was founded in 2009 by CEO RJ Scaringe. A graduate of MIT, Scaringe started Riven to develop products, vehicles and services with a focus on sustainable transportation, and investors have taken notice. Amazon signed a contract with Rivian to build the company's EV fleet, with delivery of 10,000 Rivian vans by 2022 and 100,000 by 2030.

Rivian has raised $8 billion in corporate funding since the beginning of 2019 including major players in the auto and tech industries. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) jumped into Rivian’s first round of funding with $700 million in February 2019 followed by a Ford infusion of $500 million (NYSE: F)in April 2019. The company's 2nd round of corporate funding began in Sept of 2019 with $350 million from Cox Automotive. 

By July 2020 Rivian had raised $2.5 billion from 7 investors followed by another $2.7 billion from 8 investors in January 2021. Both investment groups were led by T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ: TROW) and included Blackrock (NYSE: BLK), Ford (NYSE:F), Soros Fund Management LLC., Fidelity Management and Research Company and Coatue Management LLC. 

“This is a critical year for us as we are launching the R1T, the R1S and the Amazon commercial delivery vehicles. The support and confidence of our investors enables us to remain focused on these launches while simultaneously scaling our business for our next stage of growth,” said Scaringe.

According to Bloomberg News, it is rumored Rivian plans an IPO sometime after September 2021 or maybe early 2022. Though Rivian has not made a public announcement about its IPO timeline, experts are predicting the company will have an initial valuation of around $50 billion, $3 billion more than one of its largest investors, the Ford Motor Co (NYSE: F). Rivian has often been compared to Tesla (NYSE: TSLA) whose initial public offering IPO price was $17 per share in 2010. Today 11 years later Tesla trades at $586.78 per share on the NASDAQ. Anyone who buys shares in Rivian’s IPO in the first few days of trading may see significant gains over the following decade. 

From highway driving to dunes and rocky hills, Rivian's RT1 electric truck handles it all. (photo credit @ Rivian)

 

Rivian didn't just settle on reinventing the pickup truck either, they are rethinking vehicle point of purchase and care over the life of the vehicle. Both models are bought online with all options added during preorder coupled with a $1,000 down payment. Each owner is paired with a Rivian guide beginning at preorder and throughout the life of the vehicle the guide will take care of any questions owners have. Once the model is rolled off the production line built to the specific specs of the new owner, it is shipped to its new home.

Buyers pick the vehicle package and battery size as well as off road upgrades, wheels and color.  Rivian’s got some interesting colors beyond the popular, black, whites and grays with Rivian blue, red canyon and compass yellow.

Through remote diagnostics, that lets you know when your Rivian needs servicing, and a large fleet of mobile service vans staffed with Rivian technicians, a network of service centers and a flexible loaner program the company is creating a flow where customers will be cared for from cradle to grave with their vehicles. 

 The Rivian R1T truck will be available at the following release dates at these prices:

  • A $75,000 Launch edition starts deliveries in June 2021 for the U.S. and CA.    
  • A $75,000 Adventure edition will hit roads in January 2022.
  • A $67,500 Explore edition will also reach customers in January 2022.

The company currently has several manufacturing locations that include Plymouth, Michigan; Palo Alto, California; and Normal, Illinois.

 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 26 May 2021 15:21