Skip to main content

Rivian as a company goes back way, way further than most think. Obviously, it took CEO R.J Scaringe quite a long time to get to the point the company is at today. In fact, the company was founded way back in 2009, eleven years ago. Funnily enough, that’s shortly after the release of the original Tesla Roadster, the EV sports car that put that company on the map.

While he didn’t confirm it, it’s not a stretch to imagine that the Roadster was an inspiration for Rivian’s first car: a sports car of their very own.

The Rivian sports car that spawed an EV truck

The blue Rivian sports car prototype, shot in profile with employees standing behind it
The Rivian sports car that hasn’t come to be… yet | Rivian via YouTube

While information on the Irvine, California-based company’s sports car is scarce, Carscoops did confirm that the project was not canceled, it was simply “shelved” as CEO R.J Scaringe put it. More specifically, the whole project got put on the shelf a decade ago. Honestly, I’m not even sure how anyone knew about it given how small the company was.

I mean, that photo up above is almost everyone working in the company back in 2011 or so. Things were done on a much smaller scale then, and the prototype sports car is a great illustration of that. However, the project just wasn’t meant to be for Scaringe, though it could be something that’s in the cards for later.

A small 2-door didn’t fit with Scaringe’s vision for sustainability

A Rivian prototype sports car being driven down the road by the company's CEO
It’s hard to believe how close Rivian came to being just another small sports car manufacturer | Rivian via YouTube

At the end of the day, the brand’s small sports car got put aside because, as Scaringe said it didn’t fit with what he wanted Rivian to be about. In the video above, he says that the idea of a small sports car didn’t scream “sustainability” to him. Perhaps that means that, unlike the fledgling Tesla Roadster of the time, it was going to have a gas engine.

Whether or not that’s the case just isn’t something we know for sure. I’m also not sure that giant EV trucks like the Rivian R1T are really all that sustainable. It takes a massive amount of materials to produce something like that, and we can’t just consume our way out of global warming. Semantics aside, the brand is making an effort in that department.

The EV truck-maker wants to keep pushing the envelope

A grey Rivian logo on the back of a blue R1T truck at an auto show
Rivian’s logo has come to mean something very different over the last decade | David Becker via Getty Images

In the same video we talked about earlier, Scaringe also says that his EVs are carbon-neutral, which is a great start. It would defeat the purpose if your company’s new EV wasn’t carbon-neutral, now would it? That’s not the only area where the company continues to push the envelope, but whether they decide to push the bounds of sports car performance remains to be seen.


Rivian Configurator: Build Your Own R1T Electric Truck