At the New York Auto Show, Rivian founder R.J. Scaringe was more forthcoming about where the EV automaker startup is headed. By 2025 the pickup truck and SUV maker plans to have six products on offer, and at the moment none of them are sedans. Scaringe told Bloomberg Rivian would stick to larger vehicles because of consumer tastes and because trucks and SUVs burn more fuel than cars.
We use the word “products” for whatever’s on the way since one of the items in development might not be an automobile. Rivian recently completed a $700 million funding round with Amazon as the lead investor. One of the six products was born of that deal, but Scaringe said it is “not necessarily a vehicle.”
Before that funding round closed, it was clear that Rivian was in talks with General Motors. Sources had said that GM would provide engineering and manufacturing knowledge, Rivian would help accelerate GM’s move to electric vehicles, but the two companies couldn’t come to a deal. Scaringe didn’t elaborate on what scuttled the potential partnership, but did say that “my reason for starting Rivian was to do big things without anything preventing us from doing that.” It’s thought that GM wanted a level of exclusivity that didn’t appeal to Scaringe.
The six products in six years only include Rivian-branded machines. There could be additional co-developed models or models built for other companies, on top of tangential businesses like stationary batteries. A Chicago Business article said Rivian plans to employ 1,000 workers by the end of 2024 at its 2.6-million-square-foot Normal, Illinois plant that once built Mitsubishi and Chrysler vehicles.
The R1T pickup and R1S SUV will lead the charge as of next year. Having collected “tens of thousands” of $1,000 deposits, a little more than half of those for the pickup, Rivian has plenty of fans rooting for it. The company hosted a gathering for depositors in NYC, and more than 1,200 people showed up, some from Hawaii. The R1T will start at $69,000, the R1S at $72,500 when it comes in 2021, with battery capacities ranging from 105 kWh to 180 kWh and up to a 400-mile range with the top unit.