Rivian: everything you need to know about the new electric truck builder

Rivian on Thursday announced that its IPO was priced ahead of schedule at $25 per share, netting the company nearly $634m. The company’s shares traded slightly higher the next day, adding another $2.5bn to…

Rivian: everything you need to know about the new electric truck builder

Rivian on Thursday announced that its IPO was priced ahead of schedule at $25 per share, netting the company nearly $634m. The company’s shares traded slightly higher the next day, adding another $2.5bn to its value. Here’s what else we know about Rivian so far.

What is Rivian?

E-Truck of the future: Rivian’s first model, the R1T. Photograph: Rivian

Founded in 2015 by Rob McAnally, a retired Chrysler Corporation engineer, Rivian is a joint venture between private equity investor FCA US and Chinese automaker Chery. Chery’s financial services arm is financing Rivian, which also has the exclusive global license to manufacture and sell vehicles under the Rivian nameplate in the auto industry, with 15 to 20 years of exclusive right of use for the Rivian nameplate.

So Rivian wants to build a bunch of electric trucks, right?

Yes. The company has committed to introducing an electric powertrain and automated driving technology within the next two years.

So what’s on the R1T?

According to the company, it’s an autonomous electric truck that will also have a lightweight aluminum body and aluminium monocoque chassis, a vehicle design “oriented toward body weight reduction and aerodynamic efficiency.”

What does the name Rivian mean?

The company says it’s using “Rebound Nails” – like the ones used by flamenco dancers – to resist the electrical fields produced by plugging an electric vehicle into the charging system.

How are Rivian’s flagship F1-spec vehicles compared to other manufacturers’ trucks?

McAnally, in an interview with the Silicon Valley Business Journal, claimed the Rivian F1 truck was the best-performing off-road all-electric truck in the world, he said: “This is not a high volume vehicle, I mean, it can’t sell millions of vehicles. It is just amazing that we are able to come out and deliver something this high performance.”

A Rivian F1-spec electric powertrain. Photograph: Rivian

What’s more, it’s supremely silent and only emits a low paltry amount of sound, and the lack of noise means it’s not subject to the same kind of environmental regulations. There was no such problem with the classic automobile, he said: “Just five years ago the average mid-size mid-sized American car was on the road emitting over 300 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile. The average pickup truck is spewing over 1,000 pounds per mile. Think about that when you’re sitting in traffic on the 101 Freeway in San Francisco or in a trucked-in traffic jam in Shanghai.”

But by lowering the amount of energy used to propel a vehicle, and also reducing environmental impact, Rivian hopes to use its E-Truck technology as a pathway to change government regulations.

So how much will the F1-spec Rivian truck cost?

Rivian has yet to officially reveal its truck’s price tag, but has said the R1T – the truck at the centre of its plans – will start at roughly $69,000.

Where will it be made?

The company said its R1T truck is slated to be mass-produced at its commercial vehicle facility in Chicago. “We believe that Chicago could be our home base for production because of the supportive environment and skilled, assembled and highly-skilled manufacturing workforce,” a spokesman for Rivian said in an email.

Is it realistic to expect the Rivian F1-spec electric truck to be on the market in two years?

Much can change in two years, but if Rivian executes its plan to develop a F1-spec all-electric truck in that timeframe, it may just make the market ready for a fully electric vehicle.

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