Rivian Electric Vehicles: The Adventurous EV Brand Explored

Rivian electric vehicles

Rivian electric vehicles are making waves as a new entrant in the sustainable transportation space. This upstart automaker’s first products, the R1T pickup truck, and R1S SUV showcase impressive performance and cutting-edge technology combined with a rugged, lifestyle-oriented design philosophy tailored for outdoor enthusiasts.

Rivian logo
Rivian logo | Image courtesy of Rivian
Founder:RJ Scaringe
HeadquartersIrvine, CA
Plants:Normal, IL
*Atlanta, GA coming 2024
IPO:November 10, 2021
Federal Tax Credit Eligibility:Yes, depending on the model and options
Rivian Facts

History of Rivian

First Rivian electric vehicle driving off factory floor.
Rivian CEO, RJ Scaringe, drives the first production R1T pickup off the production line in Normal, IL. | Image courtesy of Rivian

Rivian Mission Statement

Rivian is on a mission to keep the world adventurous forever. We believe there is a more responsible way to explore the world and are determined to make the transition to sustainable transportation an exciting one. We designed our emissions-free Electric Adventure Vehicles to challenge what’s possible.

Who Founded Rivian?

The electric vehicle company, Rivian, was originally founded in 2009 as “Mainstream Motors” by CEO Robert “RJ” Scaringe. Scaringe, born in 1983, grew up a car enthusiast, restoring cars in his neighbor’s garage. His father, also Robert Scaringe, is an engineer and founded Mainstream Engineering Corporation.

RJ grew up in Melbourne, Florida, and graduated college with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. After that, he received a master’s in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then a doctorate in mechanical engineering at MIT’s Sloan Automotive Lab. 

RJ had a passion for the outdoors, as he would drive for miles out into nature to hike. Eventually, he realized he was only contributing to the pollution of the environment he was so passionate about preserving, which resulted into his pursuit into a new EV company, Rivian.

Where did Rivian get its name?

RJ spent much of his youth in his rowboat on the Indian River in Florida, from which he derived the name Rivian as a play on words.

Rivian’s Story

Rivian electric vehicle lineup.
Rivan electric vehicle lineup | Image courtesy of Rivian

Rivian aims to electrify trucks and SUVs, claiming they are often the most polluting vehicles on the road and would like to cater to a market who enjoys being active and outdoors, and requires a ride that can handle all types of terrains while hauling gear and loved ones effortlessly.

In 2011, Rivian unveiled it’s first prototype, a sporty coupe, but shortly afterwards, it decided to pursue a larger impact on the automotive industry. As a result, they scrapped the coupe.

After that, Rivian began working exclusively on electric autonomous vehicles in 2015 after receiving a large investment from backers. In 2017, Rivian acquired former Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, Illinois. 

Rivian manufacturing plant, Normal, IL.
Rivian Manufacturing Plant in Normal, IL | Image courtesy of Rivian

Rivian unveiled the R1T truck and R1S SUV at the LA Auto Show in 2018, with production set to begin in 2020.

How many employees does Rivian have?

The EV company Rivian had 250 employees at the start of 2018. Then, that number jumped to 750 by February 2019. In 2022, Rivian employs more than 11,500 employees across facilities in Michigan, Illinois, California, and the UK and is continually looking to bring on new talent.

Notable Investors

Ford Motor Company, Cox Automotive, T. Rowe Price, and Amazon, along with Amazon, through its Climate Pledge Fund, a fund that manages their investments for the Climate Pledge Initiative.

What electric vehicles does Rivian produce?

Ford initially invested heavily in Rivian and planned to co-develop an electric vehicle, but that plan ended in 2021, partially due to the pandemic fallout. Meanwhile, Ford announced they would still retain a 12 percent stake in Rivian.

In comes Amazon

In 2021, Amazon announced that it owned a 22% stake in Rivian. Additionally, they are working together to build a fleet of electric delivery vans. 

Amazon Delivery Vans

Rivian Amazon delivery van
Rivian Amazon delivery van | Image courtesy of Rivian

Amazon and EV company Rivian agreed to partner on a contract to produce 100,000 electric vans by 2030. With an estimated 200+ mile range, these vans are set to be built exclusively for Amazon. Amazon has around 10,000 electric delivery vans on the road as of 2023. Some have already been spotted out in the wild.

Rivian R1T Pickup Truck

Rivian R1T electric vehicle.
Rivian R1T | Image courtesy of Rivian

The Rivian R1T pickup truck is one of the first electric pickup trucks on the market, with deliveries beginning in 2021. The truck earned Motor Trend Truck of the year honors for 2022.

The vehicle’s battery packs (large or standard) and motor (dual or quad) determine the estimated battery range, which falls between 260-410+ miles.  

The AWD R1T seats five and can tow up to 11,000 lbs, with a 0-60 mph time as quick as 3 seconds, depending on the configuration

The R1T is made from aluminum alloy, ultra-high-strength steel, and carbon fiber to give it enhanced safety features and ratings. 

The truck also offers a range of driver assistance features that come standard on every Rivian vehicle. It is also known for it’s ample storage and features, including the much-publicized gear tunnel.

Rivian R1T with open storage
Rivian R1T with open storage | Image courtesy of Rivian

The truck currently comes in three configurations, dual motor standard pack, dual motor max pack, and quad motor large pack. Prices range from $69,900 for the dual motor standard pack to $94,000 for the top of the line R1T.

Rivian R1S SUV

Rivian R1S outdoors
Rivian R1S outdoors | Image courtesy of Rivian

The Rivian R1S SUV shares the same proprietary skateboard platform chassis as the R1T but offers more room for seating and cargo than the R1T.

Battery range is estimated at between 260-400+ miles depending on the battery packs (large or standard) and motor (dual or quad).  

The AWD R1S offers three rows of seating for up to 7 passengers and can tow up to 7,700 lbs, with a 0-60 mph time as quick as 3 seconds, depending on the configuration

The R1S is made from aluminum alloy, ultra-high-strength steel, and carbon fiber, giving it enhanced safety features and ratings. It also offers a range of driver assistance features that come standard on every Rivian vehicle. 

The SUV currently comes in two packages, dual motor standard pack and quad motor large pack. Prices range from $74,900 for the dual motor standard pack up to $99,000 or more for the performance dual motor large pack.

The Rivian R2 SUV
Rivian R2 SUV | Image courtesy of Rivian

Rivian R2 SUV

There is a new midsize electric SUV that seats five, and it boasts a range of over 300 miles with a larger battery. The vehicle offers single, dual, or tri-motor configurations, with the tri-motor option capable of reaching 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds. It is targeted to have a starting price of around $45,000. The open-air cabin includes a powered rear glass and flat-folding seats. Additionally, the SUV features new self-driving hardware and software. The R2 is expected to be available in 2026.

Rivian R3 crossover
Rivian R3 | Image courtesy of Rivian

Rivian R3 Crossover

The Rivian R3 is an upcoming midsize all-electric crossover vehicle from Rivian Automotive. It will join the R2 midsize SUV in Rivian’s lineup of EVs riding on their new midsize vehicle platform.

Rivian developed this dedicated EV platform to deliver strong performance, long-range, and improved cost efficiency compared to their existing R1 vehicles. Key design elements include high-pressure die castings, a structural battery pack forming the vehicle floor, and simplified closure systems to consolidate parts.

While smaller than the R2 SUV, the R3 crossover is still designed to provide ample passenger comfort and interior storage capacity within its tidy exterior dimensions. A performance-oriented R3X variant will also be offered, tuned for even sharper dynamics on and off the road.

Rivian states the R3 will feature the brand’s signature inviting exterior design and upscale interior styling and materials, adapted to its midsize crossover proportions. Like the R2, it will be instantly recognizable as a Rivian product.

The larger available battery pack option targets over 300 miles of EPA-estimated driving range. And in the quickest tri-motor configuration, Rivian claims the R3 will accelerate from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds.

Specific pricing was not provided, but Rivian did state the R3 will start below the $45,000 base MSRP of the R2 SUV, making it their most affordable model offering to date.

What else is Rivian working on?

Rivian is not only focusing on developing vehicles but also software, charging solutions, and services “designed to help increase uptime and lower operating costs while helping businesses achieve ambitious sustainability goals.”

In 2021, Rivian announced plans to develop a network of public charging stations across the US and Canada. They offer a combination of fast chargers, slower destination chargers, and home chargers. They also target chargers at various state parks and recreation areas, with some installations already complete in Moab, Utah, and Radnor Lake State Park in Tennessee.

Is Rivian planning to expand?

In December 2021, Rivian announced its next manufacturing plant will begin development in Morgan and Walton Counties, east of Atlanta. The construction will commence in the summer of 2022, and they have scheduled the start of production for 2024.

In the past, rumors have circulated that Rivian would build a factory in the UK, but there has been no substantial evidence to support these claims. However, it does seem likely a deal will eventually be struck for the EV company Rivian to start a plant in Europe, with multiple countries vying for the EV maker’s factory

Brand Highlights and Differentiators

Rivian has carved out a unique niche in the electric vehicle market by focusing on adventure and outdoor lifestyle with its rugged, capable trucks and SUVs. Their vehicles showcase cutting-edge EV technology and performance, with some models able to hit 0-60 mph in just 3 seconds. Sustainability is also a core tenet, reflected in Rivian’s use of recycled and vegan interior materials and its commitment to achieving net-zero emissions across its business. Innovative storage solutions like gear tunnels and front trunks cater to adventurers carrying outdoor gear. Furthermore, Rivian’s vehicles feature advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving capabilities.

Key partnerships have played an important role in Rivian’s electric vehicle strategy. Most notably, they have a strategic investment and commercial van deal with Amazon to produce sustainable electric delivery vans. In the past, Rivian had partnered with Ford on joint EV development, though Ford has since shifted to focus on its own internal EV programs.

Challenges and Opportunities

Like many EV startups, Rivian faces challenges around supply chain constraints and sourcing sustainable raw materials, which has impacted their production ramp-up. The high research, development, and manufacturing costs have elevated vehicle pricing and strained profitability. Intense competition from established leaders like Tesla as well as new EV startups is also a significant hurdle. Additionally, tighter regulations around emissions credits and environmental impact reporting pose further tests.

Despite the challenges, Rivian has several opportunities for future growth. These include further expanding their lineup into smaller and larger vehicle segments, licensing their EV platforms and technology to generate new revenue streams, leveraging their Amazon partnership for additional commercial and fleet applications, and pursuing global expansion beyond North America into Europe and Asia to increase sales.

Electric Driver Conclusion: Rivian Electric Vehicles

Rivian has made a splash as a daring new electric vehicle brand focused on enabling sustainable adventure and exploration for the outdoor enthusiast. Their first products, the R1T truck and R1S SUV, showcase impressive performance and cutting-edge technology combined with a unique rugged, lifestyle-oriented design philosophy that sets them apart in the market.

Rivian, despite the challenges of facing typical startup growing pains related to supply constraints and high costs, positions itself strongly with strategic partnerships like Amazon, extensive vertical integration across their business, and a strong lineup of compelling electrified adventure vehicles. With the mainstream R2 joining the range soon, Rivian will be able to expand their reach.

Looking ahead, Rivian has its sights set on being an innovative leader in sustainable mobility solutions across multiple fronts – from ubiquitous charging networks to commercial fleets to fully autonomous driving capability. Their overarching vision is empowering effortless emission-free exploration and adventure, now and for future generations.

Rivian Brand and Model Pages

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