New startup electric cars can not avoid comparisons with Tesla. The Elon Musk car is the only vehicle that sells EVS today, and it's remarkable that it's made mostly sedans when trucks and SUVs are the most popular cars in the US. That's what makes Rivian Automotive's launch at the Los Angeles Motor Show this week so interesting. He unveils an electric pickup and SUV, which he calls adventurers designed to retrieve a piece of sales of high-profit truck sales for the big three.
"It's a space for vehicles that have many features, you can put your gear, your pets, your stuff into them and invite you to use them and pollute them," says founder RJ Scaringe. He believes there is no such thing at the luxury end of the market, which has led to rising prices for relatively heavy trucks with many luxury options. And he sees the opportunity to sell electric vehicles designed from the ground and make money. Tesla sees the same opportunity and promises a small Y-model SUV and a pick-up, but without a hard timeframe. As Elon Musk says, Tesla has a lot on his plateOther companies, such as Workhorse, look at space as well, but more about trucks.
Scaringe founded the Rivian in 2009, but it was ridiculous at this point. The 35-year-old MIT degree already employs 600 people in five sites, including development centers in Plymouth, Michigan (vehicle design), San Jose, California (self-management), and Irwin, south of Los Angeles where batteries are being developed. When I visited this site in October, Scaringe gave me a tour of the facility as a proud parent. I'm not sure if he will consider it a compliment, but his excitement and engineering focus reminded me that there was a tour of Elon Musk ten years ago.
Rivian's first vehicle is R1T, which debuted on Monday with an SUV that will be on Tuesday. R1T will make a great tray for a movie set in 2025. It is about the size of the Ford F-150, excited enough to look futuristic but still recognizable to be out of the picture. The most remarkable visual elements are the LED lights, the red rear and the white, dotted with the Tic Tac headlamps on the front.
"We will take the traditional compromises that exist in the low fuel economy of the segment, it's not fun to drive, not good on the highway – and make them strong," says Skinger. He promises that his car will be fast, fun and extremely capable.
Rivian uses four engines that have to allow a speed of 0-60 km / h for three seconds – crazy for a truck – and also give R1T a £ 11,000 draw. The company also experimented with non-road capabilities. Having a bike on a bike gives him the kind of grip control you want, say, jumping with rock.
Since Scaringe shows me photos of the car for the first time, he says his designers have used the space where an engine, exhaust and other scattered bits will go into a regular truck. There is an electric hood with a front body, a tunnel under the cabin, designed for snowboards, golf bags or carts for various adventures. Three 110-volt outputs in the truck bed can be operated with power tools or camping attachments. Whatever you put back is being watched by an anti-theft camera.
Like Musk, Scaringe looks the happiest when diving into engineering details, grabbing a pen to draw whiteboard graphics to show me the company's charging strategy to extend the life of the battery. We walk past a row of glass cabinets, where separate battery cells are charged and dropped again and again to understand their capabilities and features. Although Rivian buys the cells from a vendor, he wants to understand them in more detail than the manufacturer can provide.
The company uses standard cylindrical cells, such as large AA batteries, built into packaging. But then he skillfully revives two layers of packaging together, while cooling with liquid, which batteries need to be sealed in the middle. The scarring grabs the packaging to show me that "the flow is optimized to make sure that the maximum temperature difference between the hottest and the coldest cell on the packaging is less than three degrees." This is important because lithium-ion batteries are the happiest in the same temperature zones people. He excites again as he explains the cooling circuits for the battery, the traction system and the cabin. "It's so cool that the battery and the heat system are my favorite parts!"
Two-storey batteries help Rivian promise enormous capacity packages of 180 kWh and 135 kWh for his cars. The biggest package Tesla now offers is 100 kilos. Its testing shows that 450 miles of scope may be possible, but it is far from the EPA tests with an official assessment to prove this. Although Scaringe says his team has worked hard to smooth out the air flow, the truck is not an inherent aerodynamic form, which means that driving on the highway will not be effective.
Ultimately, when Rivian is fully satisfied with the design and manufacturing process of the battery pack, he will have to increase it. As Tesla has shown, this can be the hard part. The company will carry out mass production at a factory in Norman, Illinois, with deliveries to be launched by the end of 2020 and sales of 50,000 cars a year in the US.
It's two more years from now, which feels like forever, compared to Tesla's regular promises of about six months, but that's also making the deadline more realistic – and that's where the Scarf decays Musk. He also plans to license the design of the main skateboard platform of other manufacturers who would be interested in an EV bump by giving the company another revenue stream if direct car sales prove to be tough as they do for each bar Tesla. So these comparisons will not end soon, but Rivian can hope that they are favorable.