By on August 20, 2019

If everything goes as planned, electric utility vehicle startup Rivian will start production on its RT1 pickup and RS1 SUV next year, utilizing plenty of Michigan and SoCal brainpower and a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois.

Of all EV startups, Rivian is widely believed to have the best chance for success — and big-bucks investments from Amazon and Ford back up that assertion. While it’s well known that the automaker plans to offer its vehicles in three battery flavors, little in the way of new details have emerged this year. So here’s a tidbit: as far as the SUV is concerned, owners will be be able to choose just how much wind they want in their hair.

In a Twitter reply to a reservation holder noticed by Motor Authority, Rivian laid out buyers’ options for the RS1’s roof. While the long-range EV debuted with a panoramic glass roof, the options go far beyond that.

“We will offer multiple roof styles including electrochromic glass (which turns from opaque to transparent on demand), a fixed glass panel, a two-piece removable composite roof and a standard fixed roof,” the company stated in its reply.

It certainly sounds like Rivian is more than happy to have its customers spend extra to get what they want, which suits the financial needs of many an EV startup just fine. The company has already stated it plans to offer the two largest battery sizes first (135 kWh and 180 kWh), as such vehicles command the highest MSRPs. These two packs, according to the manufacturer, should propel the three-row SUV 310 and 410 miles, respectively (subtract 10 miles for the RT1 pickup). Only after a year of production does Rivian plan to offer a smaller 105 kWh, 240-mile pack, which pretty much mirrors Tesla’s Model 3 launch strategy.

Rivian wins kudos, of course, for not being infuriatingly self-aggrandizing about everything it does, unlike its Palo Alto-based rival.

While Rivian’s offerings can’t be called mobility for the masses, the two models’ entry prices aren’t that far removed from loaded-up ICE-powered vehicles of the same class. The pickup starts at $69,000, with the SUV commanding a starting price of $72,500. Battery packs aren’t as pricey as they once were, but they’re still the dearest part of any EV.

As of publication time, Rivian still claims customers will see deliveries begin near the end of 2020, with test drives occurring earlier in the year.

[Images: Rivian]

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34 Comments on “Rivian Opens Up About Opening Up...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    The front end styling freaks me out…but nobody is gonna make a purchase decision for one of these based on that…and everybody will know what it is after a year or two.

    I remember when the first (radical for its time) Bob Lutz Dodge pickup was launched and he said all you need is 30% of the people to like it.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      It’s SOOO ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      Lokki

      The (ugly!) front end styling is everything. Buying a Rivian is going to be all about being COOL – there’s no realistic justification for an pure electric Pickup Truck, and not a heck of a lot for the SUV.

      Therefore it’s very important that even people who know little about the world except what they read in People Magazine instantly recognize the vehicle as a Rivian “just like Brad Pitt drives“.

      Think Mercedes logo or BMW Kidney Grill…

      * It need not be Brad Pitt specifically; just some handsome Hollywood Star

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “there’s no realistic justification for an pure electric Pickup Truck”

        It’s not the market Rivian is selling into, but electric pickups and cargo vans could be massive money-savers for contractors and day-use fleets. They put on a lot of miles (meaning fuel costs are a big part of overall expense) but they’re rarely too far from home; they can charge at night when not in use; and electric power with 0 rpm shove is excellent for moving heavy things.

        I expect this is the market for which Ford is developing its forthcoming BEV pickup.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    It will be interesting to see the cost and weight of this 180KWh battery pack, if they end up delivering one.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    Rivian seems to have a lot of potential from everything I’ve read and watched. I, too, am tepid on the front end design, but am looking forward to seeing it in person. The Rivian price shocked me initially, then I priced some of its ICE-powered competition. Price should not be a barrier if they deliver close to what’s advertised.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    The design of this thing is the least of their worries. This SUV box and the pickup are show cars only, nothing has been designed, tooled or financed. An empty building is not a manufacturing assembly plant. You have a better chance of getting you Elio Motors three wheeled death cycle before this thing comes into existence.
    But I do love how they’ve got the list prices down. 70,000 and 72,500? Because they’ve figured out the cost down to the last cent? Come on. The Elio death trap has consistently been one year away from production for more than 10 years. I’m sure all the money they brought in was concentrated in someone’s pocket and I have a feeling that Rivian has a similar business plan.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    Very smart move to enter the truck and SUV market first with real products unlike Tesla’s half baked SUV with bat wings. Hitting the biggest and hottest markets first seems like a compelling prospect for success. Tesla is selling cars in a time when they are fading fast and the market for fools who want an electric car is almost saturated.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “Tesla is selling cars in a time when they are fading fast”

      Except Tesla’s cars are outselling many other mfrs’ cars, and continue to climb.

      “the market for fools who want an electric car is almost saturated”

      Hardly – it’s a very growing market segment.

      • 0 avatar
        Lokki

        Re: the market for fools who want an electric car is almost saturated

        Hardly – it’s a very growing market segment.

        U.S. market Electric Vehicle sales increased 81% in 2018. Sounds great right? However when the original number is small it’s easy to show dramatic sounding increases. EV sales went from 199,826 in 2017 to 361,307 in 2018.

        However total U.S. vehicles in 2018 were 17,274,250. So EV’s have increase sales by 81%… now make up just over 2% of total sales.

        So, if EV sales go up 81% again in 2019, they’ll still only have about 4% of the market.

        It’s also instructive to note that of the 361,307 EV sales in 2018, 153,442 (some 42 percent) were in California, where the market is distorted by government policy. It’s easy to foresee a scenario where the California market becomes saturated.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        Tesla’s model lineup isn’t outselling anything.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    I could see myself buying one of Rivian’s limited range, light duty pickup trucks for local running around and grocery-getting, if it is priced within reason. But I cannot see myself buying Rivian’s SUV for long-distance road trips.

    Any SUV we buy has to have rapid refueling that facilitates unlimited range for 13-16 hour drives, with interruptions only for pee-breaks, refueling and fast-food purchases to take with us on the road.

    Our 2016 Sequoia in the past served our wants and needs exactly, so my guess is that when we buy another SUV after we settle down in one place, it will be a Sequoia again, hopefully still with that magnificent all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC, 5.7L V8.

    Oh! Whatta Feelin’.

    Toyota!

    • 0 avatar
      ThomasSchiffer

      ‘Any SUV we buy has to have rapid refueling that facilitates unlimited range for 13-16 hour drives, with interruptions only for pee-breaks, refueling and fast-food purchases to take with us on the road.’

      My thoughts exactly.

      Furthermore, I can speed on the German Autobahns in my 2007 Mercedes GL320 CDI 4Matic without any fear of my range suffering too much. Also, I can turn on the airconditioning system or the heater and my range will not suffer. In any current EV, these comfort features will drain the battery and drastically decrease range.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I’m afraid there aren’t too many roads in America where we can speed, and there is no place in the Great American Southwest that we can travel without Air Conditioning and Cabin airfiltration.

        Local and State Law Enforcement derive a huge percentage of their operating budget from “mining the highways and byways of America.”

        Just going 10-miles over the speed limit will set you back at least $360.00 to avoid a court appearance.

        Been there, done that, July 4th weekend, 2019, Palm Springs/Indio sector, I-10.

        Then my wife got bagged on July 18th, 2019, Las Vegas/Raton corridor, I-25.

        And this is with very, very, very light traffic on the road, very early in the day.

        • 0 avatar
          ThomasSchiffer

          Generally I will set my cruise control for 140 km/h (which is 87 mph), but when I am really in a hurry my GL320 CDI 4Matic will speed all day at over 200 km/h (which is 125 mph), and amazingly it will still return pretty ‘good fuel economy’ considering the hefty weight, the air resistance and energy required to move it and keep it moving at those velocities.

          Because of the current political and environmental climate in my country, it is probably only a matter of time before the Autobahn becomes a highway with permanent 120-130 km/h speed limits. I do hope that this never happens.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yes, I’m quite familiar with Germany’s “current political and environmental climate” from my mom’s family there, and also from my wife’s family there.

            I was sad to see the regulation, mandation, and squirrelization of America’s cars and trucks over my 73 years living my version of the American Dream.

            While I enjoy comfort, power and heft while traveling long distances on America’s roads, I feel myself strangely attracted to the Rivian BEV light intermittent-duty pickup truck for local use.

            And whereas in the past I used my Tundra pickup trucks to travel these great and extended distances, I think our 2016 Sequoia (with hitch-mounted cargo carrier) has won me over as long distance comfort hauler.

            The Bilstein adjustable gas shocks that were on our Sequoia, along with the living-room easy chair comfort of the infinitely-adjustable power front bucket seats made for a smooth traveling environment where the passenger often fell asleep.

            It happened to me and it happened to my wife, when the other was driving.

            Yet, still, there now lurks the danger of the highway cop/county mountie parked underneath an overpass, or in the median, or even on top of an overpass, just waiting to pounce and collect that speeding fine.

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            @Highdesertcat,

            The political situation here would make a brilliant dark comedy if the potential consequences weren’t so tragic for the nation.

      • 0 avatar

        “I can turn on the airconditioning system or the heater and my range will not suffer.”

        AC consumes energy also, do you agree? So energy has to come from somewhere, most likely from gas tank. So yes, range of your Mercedes will suffer too.

        • 0 avatar
          ThomasSchiffer

          @Inside Looking Out,

          Of course the energy needed to run those systems comes from the Diesel fuel in the tank. The range will suffer, BUT not as much as it would in an EV. That is the difference.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    I very much like the design of this vehicle. It is futuristic in appearance without being too futuristic. It is not boring in appearance and even carries an ounce of sportiness to it.

    My main issue with current EVs is the lackluster range and extremely long charging times. It is also my understanding that supercharging the batteries will decrease their longevity and long-term reliability. Another problem that enters my mind is, where do I charge this vehicle in the wilderness? I cannot carry an energy dense liquid source of power with me in the form of petrol/diesel in jerrycans…

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      If you go to US campgrounds, you can charge an EV on the plentiful NEMA 14-50 receptacle.

      But if you’re truly in the wilderness, then liquid fuel is the only way to go.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        “But if you’re truly in the wilderness, then liquid fuel is the only way to go.”

        The Mars Rivers all disagree. Mars is fairly remote last I heard.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        Solar panels on the roof of electric SUVs/campers would make some sense. It provides a means for these vehicles to charge their batteries while stationary in the ‘wilderness’.

        Of course, if it’s a rainy or cloudy weekend you are pretty much ‘screwed’ as you Americans would say.

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      I live up in the north, so EVs make no sense for us over here. Not for short errand-running (constant warm-ups followed by the car and battery cooling down again, then warm the car and battery up again…) or long trips (huge energy waste because of horrible heating efficiency on battery power).

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Lockstops,

        https://www.foxnews.com/auto/police-bizarre-electric-vehicle-duck-tape

        courtesy of a friend of mine after reading my consideration of buying a Rivian pickup truck on ttac.

    • 0 avatar

      Does wilderness even exist in Europe anymore? BTW do you have garage with 220V outlet? It should help.

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        @Inside Looking Out,

        There is plenty of wilderness left in Europe. But our population density is very high which means you will never be alone.

        I do not own a garage per se, at least one that is big enough for my 2007 Mercedes GL320 CDI 4Matic or my wife’s 2019 Skoda Octavia vRS Combi 2.0 TDI. Those two vehicles park outside on assigned parking spots in front of my apartment. There is a small underground garage but the parking spaces are only big enough to allow parking for really small cars. That is where I park my beater Renault Twingo, my city car. There is no EV charging capability.

        • 0 avatar
          vvk

          I am on vacation in Spain and I would never own a car if I lived here. Public transportation is everywhere, there are normal people on it (unlike the US) and taxis are about 3 or 4 times cheaper than in the US. Using public transportation in the US, with extremely rare exceptions, is super inconvenient and you feel like a looser doing it. So everyone is forced to own a car.

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            @VVK,

            I totally agree with you. If public transportation were affordable, reliable and could bring me everywhere I wanted to go I would use it more often.

            That is, however, not the case in Germany. Our national railway service has been privatized and since then it has gone downhill. The agenda is minimal investment, maximum profits at the expense of the train commuters. The trains are in a desolate state. In the summers the airconditioning systems consistently fail, the heating systems don’t work in the winters and the train fares are overpriced and they are never on time. The Inter-City-Express (high speed rail) train is limited to slow speeds because there are few to no high speed rails available for it to travel on. Supposedly they can travel 300 km/h and faster. The few times I have taken an ICE train I never saw it go faster than 120 km/h.

            In the city, the S-Bahn and U-Bahns are grotesquely overpriced, slow, unreliable and operating at their limits.

            Taxis are also very expensive in Germany, no matter where you are.

            In many cases it is actually still cheaper to take your car, despite the high fuel prices which we have here.

          • 0 avatar
            vvk

            > The few times I have taken an ICE train I never saw it go faster than 120 km/h.

            Speaking of which, I took the medium-speed Euromed train from Barcelona to Valencia and was very impressed by the 125 mph and how effortless it seemed.

        • 0 avatar

          “hose two vehicles park outside on assigned parking spots”

          That’s not a problem. You can ask HOA to install charging stations for every parking lot. It is just a matter of time when EU will make owning ICE cars illegal. In US at work we have charging stations on parking lot where employees can charge their EVs for free during day or night (many in Silicon Valley work overtime).

  • avatar
    Lockstops

    Why does it have 2 huge USB-C ports in the front?

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