You may think of Tesla when you hear about electric vehicles and innovation. However, there is another name that is fast becoming popular in the EV circles. Rivian Automotive is driven by a founder with a vision and backed by some of the most influential funding partners in business. Premium SUVs of the electric variety are getting attention and soon maybe putting Tesla on notice.
Rivian has a passionate founder and a vision
Robert “R.J.” Scaringe founded Rivian Automotive at 36 years old in 2009. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT and designs premium sport utility vehicles with entirely electric capabilities. He may not be as well-known as Elon Musk just yet, but he is attracting some of the brightest and most successful in backing his cause. Scaringe is setting out to dominate on the most profitable segments in the consumer vehicle market – the SUVs and pickups. Rivian is looking to improve both durability and battery charge ranges.
Imagine if Amazon entered the EV industry
Rivian hasn’t sold one of its vehicles yet, but entire fleets are coming. In fact, R.J. Scaringe met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last fall to introduce his vision to one of the world’s richest people. Upon visiting the Rivian headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan, an impressed Bezos ponied up $700 million in funding. Last September, Amazon officially announced its plans to buy 100,000 Rivian vehicles as part of its “Climate Pledge” cargo delivery fleet.
Ford is on board too with the vision too
Amazon wasn’t the only major contributor to Rivian Automotive last year. Ford Motor Co. is on board with R.J. Scaringe’s vision as well. The Ford funding of $500 million helped to bring the Rivian funding total from corporate America to $1.7 billion. Ford’s interest is more specific to the Rivian ‘skateboard platform,’ a design that incorporates a separate electric motor for each wheel. Ford is planning to spend $11 billion over the next several years to develop electric vehicles. Considering that investment is almost one-and-a-half times the company’s total capital spending, it must mean there’s something exciting going on at Rivian Automotive.
The first all-electric vehicle for Ford is officially going to be within the Lincoln luxury brand. Ford Motor Co. made announcements about launching with Lincoln and partnering with Rivian Automotive. President of Lincoln, Joy Falotico, said in a statement that working with Rivian ‘marks a pivotal point’ as the industry moves towards an EV future. There aren’t additional details available just yet as to what type of vehicle consumers can expect nor specific release dates.
The Rivian R1T pickup and R1S SUV are coming
Rivian Automotive is set to debut both the R1T and the R1S at the end of this year. As you might imagine, considering the significant backing from Amazon, the Rivian vehicles will also be fully integrated with Alexa and voice assistant technology. The fleet of electric delivery trucks is predicted to begin delivering Amazon packages to homes in 2021. For consumers, Rivian is taking refundable $1,000 deposits now. The R1T pickup will cost around $69,000 before the $7,500 eligible federal tax credit.
Right now, the world may be watching Elon Musk and sharing opinions about the latest Cybertruck. However, consumers might want to keep an eye on Rivian Automotive. The Michigan EV producer is aligning with some of the biggest names in corporate business and the automotive industry, which may be an indication that big things are coming. Tesla may be revolutionizing the landscape now, but Rivian may be taking the EV movement to an entirely new level very soon.