Rivian, a California-based startup building electric vehicles, is planning to unveil its first cars at the Los Angeles auto show in November. It will show an electric pickup truck and a three-row SUV, which are believed to change the perception of electric vehicles.
R.J. Scaringe, Rivian’s founder, and CEO, during a talk at this week’s “Disrupters Event” said that the auto industry is on the verge of sweeping change. “Think about the tech industry in 1991,” he said.
Recently, the company acquired a plant from Mitsubishi in Normal, IL and confirmed raising $500 million in venture capital. This is believed to allow the carmaker to build 50,000 vehicles annually when it launches in 2020.
The cars are expected to be pretty luxurious and cost between $50,000 and $100,000. Both vehicles will have the same platform, consisting of a large battery pack. Therefore, the range will be of 450 miles (724 km). Currently, car manufacturers are pushing themselves to pass the 300 miles milestone, so we will see if the new company will succeed to achieve its goal in two years.
Rivian also states that its electric pickup truck and SUV will be able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (93 km/h) in about 3 seconds. However, we are talking about primarily off-road vehicles, so off-road performance is very important. The carmaker believes that it will be better than a Jeep or a Land Rover.
Rivian is developing four other vehicles on the same platform, which is further planned to be shared with other vehicle builders. Additionally, it could underpin a self-driving, autonomous vehicle.
Originally, the company, back in 2009 when it opened, wanted to create a 4 passenger coupe, but the project was shelved in favor of broader, more flexible vehicles. It believes that electric pickup trucks are the most premium vehicles today. Their price has increased steadily over the past 2 decades, indicating they were an ideal platform for new technology.
The company has 450 employees based in California and Michigan and wants to make sure that the vehicles are well-built and well-equipped.