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When it comes to electric carmakers in the U.S., most Americans probably only know about Tesla. However, there is an electric car start-up that may be competitive with Tesla in the future, and that start-up is Rivian. Unlike Tesla though, the CEO of Rivian is very different than the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk.

Rivian vs. Tesla

The biggest thing to know about Rivian is that, unlike Tesla, Rivian hasn’t actually sold any cars yet. As The New York Times reported, Rivian has been operating in “stealth mode” for a few years now.

The team at Rivian, along with its CEO and founder, R.J. Scaringe, has spent years designing their cars in secret, all the meanwhile attracting a diverse range of investors such as Jeff Bezos, Ford, and even several Saudi businessmen.

Like Tesla though, The New York Times says that the first car that Rivian designed was a sports car. However, unlike Tesla, Scaringe decided to pull the plug on that sports car and instead focus on designing electric SUVs and trucks.

This was a smart move as, at the time, Tesla hadn’t revealed its Cybertruck yet and that allowed Rivian to create cars that could easily compete with Tesla.

Another similarity that Rivian will have with Tesla is that their first cars will be relatively expensive. The New York Times says that the Rivian R1S, which is an SUV, and the Rivian R1T, which is a pickup truck, will start at $70,000 and $90,000 respectively. 

Different CEOs though

Unlike Musk, who didn’t actually create Tesla, Scaringe started Rivian right out of college. He did so with the help of his family and friends, and The New York Times reports that he and his dad took out a second mortgage to help start Rivian. Scaringe hired a small team and they all set out working on making electric cars in secret, but all the meanwhile, Scaringe kept a low profile. 

This is of course in contrast to Musk, who is anything but low profile. Musk not only has a massive social media following, but he also uses his clout to talk trash about his enemies in the business. Scaringe, as far as The New York Time knows, doesn’t do anything like that. 

Additionally, Musk is well-known to be someone who’s interested in futuristic technologies. While Scaringe likely isn’t different in that regard, he is different in the sense that he knew in college that he wanted to start an automobile company, according to The New York Times. Musk, on the other hand, was a businessman before he became the CEO of Tesla, and making electric cars wasn’t his big dream in life.

Some similarities still persist regardless

Despite these major differences, The New York Times notes that there are a couple of things that are very similar between the two men. For one, Scaringe, like Musk, cares about the world. Both men realize the massive harm that cars fueled by gas and diesel are doing to the Earth, and so that’s why both men have an EV company.

On top of that, as The New York Times said, Scaringe is also a control freak, just like Musk is known to be. Apparently, Scaringe feels the need to give his opinion on things such as the bathroom tile color of the Rivian assembly plant. Another similarity between these two men is that both have what The New York Times describes as a “worshipful” following. 

One thing that may be similar between both men that isn’t really known yet is whether or not Scaringe can give accurate estimates to the public. Musk is infamous for speaking too soon on social media, and Scaringe could join Musk in that club. 

The New York Times says that Scaringe thinks that Rivian will start producing EVs in late 2020, and that Rivian will produce up to 40,000 EVs in 2021. For now, we’ll have to wait and see whether the CEO of Rivian has any Elon Musk style tricks up his sleeves.


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