By on October 15, 2021

Barely a month has passed since Rivian’s CEO first posted pictures of the company’s fully certified, in-production R1T electric pickup rolling down the Normal, Illinois assembly line. The R1T is here, it’s real, and it’s got the blessing of the NHTSA, EPA, and CARB to prove it – but the fact that the R1T made it to production more-or-less as promised isn’t what I’m here to talk about today.

Instead, I want to talk about how a brash, spunky startup managed to beat not just Ford, and not just GM, but every single established automaker to market to deliver the first modern electric pickup truck … and the answer might not be what you expect.

RIVIAN AND THE WORLD’S FIRST PRODUCTION ELECTRIC PICKUP *

They say it takes 10  years to become an overnight success, and if you’re already familiar with that little bromide it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Rivian was founded all the way back in 2009—and the R1T wasn’t its first vehicle, either. That honor goes to the Avera R1 (a portmanteau of “American” and “verde”, for “green”).

Back then, the company’s headquarters was located in Brevard County, Florida (because all great supercars come from Florida), and the R1 itself was to be a mid-engine 2+2 hybrid promising to deliver 60 MPG in a Volvo C30-ish silhouette styled by Peter Stevens, who also famously penned the Jaguar XJR-15, McLaren F1 hypercar, and the good-looking versions of the Lotus Esprit (1988-2004).

Despite the presence of Stevens and founder RJ Scaringe, a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from M.I.T., however, the project gave off a sort of “vaporware” vibe.

“It seems these days that a new ultra-high mileage vehicle is announced almost every month, and this month will be no different,” wrote Green Car Reports. “The latest is from Florida’s Avera Motors, which has announced plans for a new high-efficiency vehicle … its new prototype will feature supercar-like handling, aggressive looks, an affordable price tag, and Prius-beating efficiency—we’ll wait until the car is actually launched before we pass judgment but we wouldn’t recommend you hold your breath.”

Avera showed off a teaser image of the R1, but no car. Then things went quiet, more or less, until September of 2016 when a company calling itself “Rivian” sent a note out to several publications. It read, “Avera is a company no longer in business and the viewpoint of Avera, which became Rivian Automotive, is no longer aligned with our current business strategy and current and future product offering(s).”

By 2016, things were different. Avera/Rivian had received $1.77 million in funding from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) and $29.5 million in grants and loans administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to move if it would only move its operation to Michigan and create a targeted 174 jobs. (That’s nearly $180,000 per job promised, by the way, for those of you who couldn’t do the math quickly enough to be angry already.)

“Rivian’s commitment to Michigan reflects the great advantage of locating in the capital of automotive research and development,” said MEDC CEO (circa 2015) Steve Arwood. “Michigan is at the forefront of innovation in automotive design and manufacturing, and Rivian is taking its place as a leading company imagining the next ‘automotive experience,’ which translates into making sure the state’s auto industry remains competitive far into the future.”

Less than two years later, the newly reborn Rivian showed off its second first-ever vehicles, the R1T and R1S “adventure vehicles”.

Despite being called “adventure vehicles”, it’s hard to think of a less adventurous risk than trying to sell pickups and SUVs to mainstream Americans. Still, these were electric, and people were looking for the next Tesla $TSLA. Seeing that Rivian had its crosshairs firmly on the heart of the U.S. market, big money started coming in the form of massive investments from Ford and Amazon, who plunked down $500 million and $700 million, respectively.

Sure, Ford might have talked about a Rivian-based electric Lincoln and Amazon may or may not be serious about producing that big electric delivery van they’ve been showing off – but the cynic in me sees this as a straight money play by both. Given that current talk on The Street has Rivian going public with a positively ludicrous $80 billion (with a “b”) valuation later this year, I’d guess they’re feeling pretty good about those investments right about now.

For reference, Ford – which has been successfully selling cars for over 100 years – is currently valued at about $53 billion. GM, a company that really could have built the first mass-market electric pickup twenty years ago, is valued at about $72 billion.

Now, I know – you didn’t come here for a history lesson. Still, you need some context to understand how and why Rivian beat Ford and GM to market with an electric pickup, and understanding that Ford’s investment in Rivian was always about the stock play is critical to understanding why and how it managed to beat the Ford F-150 Lightning and ChEVy SilvErado (I hate that so much) to market.

Simply put: Rivian has an incentive to rush its vehicles to production, while Ford and GM have an incentive to take things slow.

WHY THE BIG THREE ARE THE SLOW THREE

I’m not here to debate whether or not a company that hasn’t actually sold anything yet is “really” worth more than Ford or GM. A thing is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, I guess, and that seems to be as good a metric as any other for startup electric brands – but legacy car brands operate on somewhat different metrics.

When these established companies build 120,000 cars and about 1 in 10,000 of those cars catch fire, it’s a really big deal that costs billions of dollars in recalls and buybacks. Meanwhile, a brand like Tesla will claim its cars drive themselves while the bumpers fall off and the stock just keeps on climbing.

Now, I haven’t driven a Rivian yet. I have no reason to believe they are anything but solidly-built, thoroughly conceived vehicles with meticulous build quality. That said, Tesla has proven that getting a car right can be an afterthought if you’re an EV startup. A few bumpers can fall off here or there and the doors don’t need to close all the way and heck, what’s a glass roof or two flying off between friends, right? Meanwhile, GM has proved that the acceptable margin of error for a legacy car brand is literally 0.0001.

To put it another way, Ford needs the F-150 Lightning to be perfect – or damn near – when it comes to market. If it’s anything less than the very best product the Blue Oval Boys can bring to market, it will be a black eye and an embarrassment for not just Ford, but for the UAW, President Joe Biden, the ghost of Bill Ford, and everyone who ever appeared in a “Built Ford Tough” commercial.

If GM gets the upcoming ChEVrolet SilvErado wrong, it will be even worse for them (yes, that’s really what they’re calling it, from what I can tell).

When you have smart people, who are incentivized to deliver on hype rather than profits, and who can afford to get things wrong here or there – well, let’s just say that if it wasn’t for COVID, they might have had an R1T in a customer’s hands months ago.

ABOUT THAT ASTERISK

While it is true that the Rivian R1T beat Ford and Chevy to market, it wouldn’t be technically correct (the best kind of correct) to call the R1T the first production electric pickup. That honor goes to the 1997 Chevrolet S10 EV, which beat the Ranger EV to market by a model year.

Based on a regular-cab, short-bed S10, the S10 EV placed an array of lead-acid batteries between the truck’s frame rails and, but for a kinda cool-looking aerodynamic front bumper, was visually indistinguishable from the ICE-powered S10. Under the hood, a 114 horsepower version of the EV1’s electric motor drove the front (yes, front) wheels. Range was limited to about 60 miles – no word on how many of them caught fire, though.

You can learn more about the Chevy S10 EV, below, and let me know what you think of Rivian’s chances of getting their $80 billion in the comments section.

[Image: Rivian/Avera]

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66 Comments on “Analysis: How Rivian Beat EVERYONE to Market With the First Electric Pickup...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Why were the D3 late on this? I think it’s pretty simple – they were waiting to see whether people would warm to EVs. In particular, they wanted to see if people would want electric pickups/SUVs, which are the kinds of vehicles they want to make. Well, now they know. Ford and GM are all in, and we’ll see about Ram.

    My question is whether the Rivian trucks and the F150 Lightning prompt Tesla to rethink the Cybertruck’s goofball styling.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “prompt Tesla to rethink the Cybertruck’s goofball styling.”

      It’s way too late to change the design of the truck. The appearance is related to its design. The plant to produce the steel is almost done and the production facilities are already under construction. They’re committed at this point. It’s actually more of a practical design than Rivian and Lighting, so we’ll have to see which way buyers go. The design is for higher strength and better aerodynamics.

      • 0 avatar
        Mustangfast

        Don’t underestimate face savings too. Tesla seems to have been showing its angular truck off for what seems like ages, it would be a huge PR hit to do an about face and make it look normal now. If it in fact flops they will have the bones of it to throw a new body on

      • 0 avatar
        conundrum

        Better aerodynamics on the Cybertruck? I guess that’s why aircraft fuselages come to a peak 40% of the way down their length, then taper off. Or why gas turbine (jet and fanjet) engines have sudden discontinuities in their gas flow paths. I know, it’s a case of: “Elon” strikes again! Blowing away our preconceptions; genius will prevail as new aerodynamic theories are propounded. Musk previously relied on “new” like EVs from 120 years ago and from before that, round wheels. There’s a market for rediscovered obviousness, but the CyberRoof does seem like a Whole New Thing dreamt up at a coffee break.

        Seriously, can anyone explain why a sudden discontinuity over the driver’s head makes a Cybertruck “aerodynamic”? To me it seems like a great place for flow separation and wind roar over the driver’s head. But my theory training is decades out of date, and I last worked in a real windtunnel complex in 1968 as a summer student. So someone who knows how this thing is at least “supposed” to work can enlighten me. I’m all ears, having read nothing but low grade BS about it on fan and EV websites, which repeat press handouts of the same general believability as the “winning” company TV ad in a Coke vs Pepsi Taste Challenge. The aero explanation should be such as to not cause Herr Doktor Professor Dipl Eng Wunibald Kamm to roll over in his grave.

        I like the look of the Rivian, and Greg Locock, moderator on Engineering Tips forum (Automotive Suspension), who comments below, has argued convincingly that unsprung weight like electric hub motors aren’t as bad for ride and handling as we’ve all been led to believe since forever. And he’s had a few decades knocking out suspensions for car makers like Lotus and Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      EV = ExpensiveVehicle

      Requires government incentives.

      TESLA is not profitable without emissions credits. TESLA is the business case for EV success and yet they are unable to scale to a profit.

      Legacy manufacturers are not moving so slow as to miss the transition to EV. Automotive manufacturing is capital intensive with low level of return on investment. EV sales are still less than 5% of market in 2021. All in for 5% of market is insanity.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        You can always buy a good used, depreciated EV, charge it from your solar panels, and invest the savings in good dividend-paying stocks.
        Or you can by a V8 pickup new, pay it off over seven years, and max out your Mastercard at the Chevron station.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Tesla removed the pricing on the CT along with ordering options. I hope the author is still here in October 15, 2022, and you’ll see a different landscape.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Ford and GM are all in”

      Unless I missed an article, I disagree with that. They’ve both put in an ante, and both like to talk big, but both are far from “all in”.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Agreed. They’ve dipped a toe in the waters.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @Lou, ajla:

          Ford is building a whole new plant for the F150 Lightning and GM is completely renovating one for the Silverado and Hummer EVs. I suppose we could parse the meaning of “all in”, but both companies are clearly making a huge commitment to to this market segment.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Both of them have announced major commitments. I’ll take a look at their upcoming financial statements to see how much they are actually following through on them. I have a feeling they are backloading things.

      • 0 avatar

        They both understand quite clearly that Tesla is overvalued, but that the reason for that is EV related. There seems to be a general belief on Wall Street that ICE production capacity is a liability, long term, and it’s dragging down stock valuation for shareholders — and it’s the shareholders, not the end users, that the company is beholden to.

        They get it, and they’re pivoting as fast as they can.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I love the cybertruck’s styling. Its perfect.

      I saw a Rivian pickup in the wild last week. It was pretty striking. So much more interesting to look at than the lumps that sell as pickup trucks from the established brands. This will catch on like wildfire….or more likely, catch on to the point that they sell them as fast as they make them. I have also seen a Hummer EV in the wild. Lame in comparison, sorry GM.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC31

        My almost-80-year-old dad, a farmer, Chevy pickup guy, has a Model 3 and signed up for a Cybertruck. His logic on the looks was that it’s so ugly it’s never going to become boring.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    “If GM gets the upcoming ChEVrolet SilvErado wrong, it will be even worse for them (yes, that’s really what they’re calling it, from what I can tell).”

    Good lord. My guess is somebody near the top of GM’s foodchain thinks he’s very clever. Hopefully somebody can talk him down before this gets set in stone, but it’s GM, so….

  • avatar
    dal20402

    “ChEVrolet SilvErado”

    I refuse to believe that’s actually the product name. I could see an ad campaign (almost certainly a bad one) around it, but it can’t be the product name. It can’t be.

    … right?

  • avatar
    285exp

    I think that 1 in 12,000 cars could catch fire while charging in your garage and potentially burning your house down with you in it might be a different level of problem than bumpers and sunroofs falling off, and Autopilot does pretty much what it’s supposed to do, for a level 2 system. The selling of the $10k FSD option is pretty much a scam, but they’re just telling you that one day it might work, and though very unlikely, maybe it will.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “I think that 1 in 12,000 cars could catch fire while charging in your garage ”

      Show us the stats. Put in a link. https://insideevs.com/news/501729/number-tesla-vehicle-fires-2020/

      ” The selling of the $10k FSD option is pretty much a scam, but they’re just telling you that one day it might work”

      Won’t disagree with that, but just don’t buy it. It’s that simple. I wouldn’t.

      ” sunroofs falling off,”

      Funny, they don’t sell cars with sunroofs. Perhaps you are confusing it with the Mustang Mach-E Mustang. The Mustang with 4 doors. Yeah, that Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        “Sunroof” is the wrong term, but some Model Ys lost their glass roofs; one was filmed by the driver as he took his new car home from the store. Luckily nobody behind him ate it.

        “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_pSgr9wl0g”

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Yeah, I knew about the Ys. But I was referring to the Mach-E recall:

          https://www.kbb.com/car-news/recall-alert-ford-mustang-mach-e-loose-windshield-glass-roof/#:~:text=Ford%20is%20recalling%20certain%202021,come%20loose%20in%20an%20accident.&text=Dealers%20will%20reinstall%20the%20glass%20with%20new%20adhesive.

      • 0 avatar
        285exp

        If you followed the link in the story, that figure is about the Bolt, not Tesla. You don’t have to get your panties all in a wad anytime anyone says anything you don’t like about Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        My neighbor’s Monte Carlo spontaneously combusted a few nights ago. It was something in the engine compartment, on the driver’s side.
        When manufacturers cheap out on the parts, bad things happen.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Rivian beat everyone else to market because:

    1. That’s all they’ve had to think about.
    2. They have no legacy vehicles to worry about cannibalizing.

    As for Tesla and GM, safety issues (spontaneous fire) are much less forgivable than quality issues (lost bumpers). But as you point out, TSLA has more mystique than GM, so more is forgiven them.

    I work for a company with no competitors, in a very specific market niche in the medical device industry. We are aware of a couple recent startup rivals who could easily “Rivian” us. Our management is paralyzed about what to do, but bold steps don’t seem to be part of the defense plan.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      3. Supposedly, they only shipped a few vehicles to friends and family. Not sure if they’re in actual full production yet:

      https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-elon-musk-warning-advice-rivian-lucid/

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Big companies like GM have massive bureaucratic structures. Decisions have to get funnels up various chains of command and often languish in committees before getting run up and down the command chain again. It’s exceptionally inefficient. A company like Rivian has minimal product and a compact hierarchy. Decisions get made quickly because the messages don’t have to travel far.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        All that may well be true, but the main reason Rivian can beat carmakers as hyping cars, is specifically because it is an awful lot quicker and easier to sell PowerPoint presentations, and the occasional fashion accessory, to rank idiots on Fed welfare; than to millions of non-idiots who actually have to work for their money.

        That simple truism is all that;s required to explain the entirety of the BEV “phenomenon.” The rest is below the noise floor.

        As always, those who can, do. While those who can’t, in financialized dystopias, live off promising to do. Since, in such financialized dystopias,all powerful central banks are specifically charged with redistributing as much wealth as necessary, from the former to the latter, to ensure that absolutely all outcomes are decided by Fed and government policy. And absolutely none are decided by competence, talent, hard work nor ability and willingness to do something productive and produce something valuable.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @stuki – Yes. USA is definitely NOT a meritocracy.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC31

          Good grief, the hysteria from the automotive luddites here is embarrassing.

          Every single airliner in use today was sold as a “paper airplane,” financed by orders based on little more than some educated guesses about performance and a nice picture. I’m in a much lowlier industry, but that’s what we do every day, for 6-figure products. So you’re really just being hysterical and willfully ignorant of how everyone who can’t call up a billion dollars at once operates.

          I feel slightly embarrassed bringing this up again on this page, but my father is pushing 80, and has been a farmer all his life. You know, tractors, harvesters, cows, that kind of thing.

          The first thing he did when he sold his last big chunk of land was get on the waiting list for a Model 3, and if he lives long enough to actually see it he’s going to replace his $75K pickup with a Cybertruck. Note this is in Canada, where according to the skeptics EVs are useless because of the cold.

          So this old guy has enough of an interest in and excitement about gadgets and technology and sees this is where things are going, gets an EV, puts up with the quirks of being a Tesla owner/beta tester, drives it halfway across your country, and is happy enough to plan on getting another one.

          So compared to actually seeing that experience, your comment is just…are you even really a ‘car guy’ or just desperately looking for places to share your wonderfully original political insights? I know how you feel, I was in college once too.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “Every single airliner in use today was sold as a “paper airplane,”

            Which is why we’re still flying slightly, and slowly, refined models of ones built in the 60s.. Not “electric” ones at 3x the price, 2x the weight and which has to land for charging seven times between LA and New York. Nor pie-in-the-sky ones. Nor stuff from Flash Gordon movies.

            Also, no offense, but you father is, you know, tractors, harvesters, cows, that kind of thing. Plus “selling off his last big chunk of land.”

            The latter being, just a guess on my part but very likely, where the battery toy money came from. As in, at today’s land prices, Fed welfare, and 95% nothing but.

            It’s easy to “fund” nonsensical purchases, when you have central banks making others pay for them. Problem is, those others then don’t get to use those funds for something productive, and not value destroying.

            After all, printing Washington’s face on paper pieces never did, never will, produce any actual value. Every penny money printing end up handing to morons “owning” paper and “deeds”, have to come from somewhere. That somewhere being someone who actually creates it. Then has it taken away for the Fed welfare recipients to squander.

            (Not criticizing your father. Or, at least not intending to. I “made” most of my money off of welfare myself. Heck, seemingly near anyone who can afford a new car anymore, did. It wouldn’t be a proper financialized dystopia if it wasn’t properly dystopian. Sad thing is, being a farmer, your father would likely have been even better off absent the debasement driven theft. I like to flatter myself believing I would as well. But that’s rather irrelevant economically.)

          • 0 avatar
            Robert.Walter

            My mom’s 88yo (2010 PT Cruiser) and both her and my 56yo sister (2016 Honda Fit LX) are both taken by the new Ford Maverick. I too must admit it’s a nice looking little truck. I remember a discussion 20 years ago in Ford Building 1 (LT Truck Engineering) and how there was a proposal floating around for a front wheel drive PU and the experts were all flummoxed about weight transfer off the front wheels when carrying a load. I think we will see, complements ESC/TC?, and proper option packages, that it wasn’t as big a deal as folks were concerned about.)

        • 0 avatar
          JimC31


          “Every single airliner in use today was sold as a “paper airplane,”

          Which is why we’re still flying slightly, and slowly, refined models of ones built in the 60s.. Not “electric” ones at 3x the price, 2x the weight and which has to land for charging seven times between LA and New York. Nor pie-in-the-sky ones. Nor stuff from Flash Gordon movies.”

          What is that supposed to mean? Are you claiming I’m mistaken? That I’m completely unaware how planes get built…like the one I’m designing right now? Are you aware how anything big gets built? That sooner or later the people who need a million or billion dollars to tool up a production line need to convince the people with the money, based on little more than promises?

          And the rest of it…good grief if this was 1895 you’d be making the same claims about CARS being useless toys for the idle rich. Have you actually driven one? Have you taken a road trip in one? Your theoretical concerns that I shared 20 years ago are hopelessly obsolete.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            Reply to Stuki one more time. How are land prices 95% Federal Welfare, nothing but? His father is using his personal money to make his purchase. How are Federal Banks making someone else pay for that? What exactly is this welfare you and supposedly so many of us are on? If you would be so kind to expand on this dystopia to us ignorant and unwashed? Also, we like to hear much much more about this debasement driven theft. So many of us await your answers and astute solutions. Some of us on here have had classes in Economics and Finance. Big Hint #1. Governments spend money, always have, always will. Big Hint #2 there’s a great big world out there once you give up 19-sided die. Big Hint #3 It’s easy to make pseudo-intellectual snide remarks and always complain. Providing baselines for your snide remarks is hard; coming up with real solutions is even harder. Big Hint #4 There comes a time in your life when using your laptop in public is never cool. Ever. No matter how many free soy lattes your barista gives you on the sly.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “What is that supposed to mean?”

            That those who see further, do so by standing on the shoulders of…. (recursion until it seems like they’re standing on the shoulders of giants….)

            And that complex problems at the leading edge of well understood domains get solved by lots and lots of baby steps. Undertaken by people with lots and lots of in-field experience.

            Anything big, which even remotely reliably works, is built by recursive application of relatively small improvements to something marginally less “big.” Complexity management is all and everything, once the domain is simultaneously hard and resource intensive.

            Yahoos on Fed welfare who believe in Santa Claus are, to a moron, net-negative contributors. The sad fact that more competent people are forced to listen to the dunces, for no other reason than becasue central banks handed them untold wealth stolen by debasement from their productive superiors, does not change that one whit. And neither does the fact that other, even more moronic, welfare queens may stand ready to pay even more of the money The Fed stole, for whatever duncery is currently fashionable. Dumb people throwing billions of stolen funds at things they know nothing about, simply never was, never will be, a useful algorithm for solving hard problems. No matter how convenient and self gratifying it may be for the dunces to pretend so themselves.

            In 1895, cars were useless toys for the (idle?) rich. Which is why their owners didn’t receive tax breaks. Didn’t get their own lanes where more practical horse drawn carriages were not allowed to travel. And their makers weren’t handed subsidized, 0% loans and implied guarantees that anyone who lent them money, would be made whole and bailed out, no matter what. There were no five year planners planning “cars” in 1895.

            So, their makers got to play with their useless toys, on their own time and dime, until they arrived at something not so useless. Which occasionally does happen to useless toys. But very rarely. Making it paramount, if one is to avoid wasting every resource available on useless-toy-manufacturing, instead of on something more useful, to not throw anybody elses money down the drain. After all, playing with useless toys is fun. Subsidize it, and it crowds out near anything harder and more useful. Ask the Soviets.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “How are land prices 95% Federal Welfare, nothing but?”

            Because only government intervention creates artificial scarcity of something so plentiful as physical space to build and live/work on.

            And because that intervention, and the implied promise to continue it, has rendered land (and even the stuff shoddily built on it) one of the goods most likely to be granted loans to buy. Loans which are, on account of money printing, massively under priced. Hence overconsumed. Which hence drives up the prices of the goods they are used to purchase. Like land.

            In addition, something as simple as the protection of land, is subsidized. It’s paid for not by taxes on the land protected, but rather by a myriad of taxes on people who don’t own it.

            Etc., etc…

            Dump building restrictions, end The Fed and use gold (at $20/oz) as money, get rid of activity taxation to instead rely on property taxes (after all “protecting property” is how taxes are fundamentally justified….). Then see where land prices end up. The rest is artificially engineered redistribution of wealth created by others, to idle land owners. Which is technical jargon for that thing more commonly referred to as theft.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          @Stuki Sir, exactly who are these rank idiots on Federal Welfare buying these PowerPoints and occasional fashion accessories. So you are imply that anyone who doesn’t buy a Rivian is the opposite of non-idiot? I think your truism is based on sophistry and speculation with no basic in these things called facts. For us great unwashed what exactly is the “noise floor”? If you would be so kind to expound on this financial dystopia? I’m very interested in how those who can’t, as you say,are living off promises to do do.Where and who are these powerful central banks? How do these unnamed/unspecified banks a. distribute the wealth? b. decide how much needs to be distributed? c. Who decides all this? d. Exactly whore are the former and the latter. You last sentence completely contradicts everything, and I mean every thing you had written before it. To me, it would take a great deal of competence to coordinate this vast unidentified cabal between the government(s) and yet unnamed central banks, talent to keep this giant enterprise in operation and operating completely hidden from the rest of the known world. All this would take hard work. This giant secret cabal is productive even if they are redistributing wealth in a secretive, global capacity. Creation of wealth involves accounting for and care-taking of said wealth. Those two activities create value. European countries got the telegraph more or less around 1850. The Rothchilds weren’t engaging in grand conspiracies to financially enslave the world. They communicated daily, or twice daily if needed, over the telegraph. The Federal Reserve was created to prevent wild swings in currency valuations and availability. Fiat money was created on the basis that a dollar is worth a dollar because the IS is the best place in the world to leave your money. Oh, naysayers, doomsday prophets, and conspiracy theory cranks abound over monetary supply and regulation. They are proved wrong every time. Every time.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “exactly who are these rank idiots on Federal Welfare buying these PowerPoints and occasional fashion accessories.”

            People who lack anything even close to the level of understanding of something as complex as car manufacturing, to have even the tiniest shot at allocating resources efficiently (or even non-destructively.) It’s a very hard field. Rendering most people idiots at it. You and me included.

            “If you would be so kind to expound on this financial dystopia”

            Printing Washington’s face on paper pieces creates no real wealth. None at all. Hence total wealth is unchanged by doing so. Yet, doing so, say during the “financial crisis,” certainly left lots and lots of banksters and “asset owners” an awful lot wealthier than if things were allowed to play out in a free market. So: No change to total wealth. Yet lots of positive change to bankster and “asset” owner wealth. What does simple arithmetic then necessitate happened to “non-bankster, non-‘asset’-owner” wealth? Repeat that very scenario with every dollar printed since 1913. With particular focus on the complete run-amuck, and accelerating, printing to have taken place since Nixon went full retard in 1971… And you arrive at Dystopia.

            Dystopia being, where all wealth, hence decision making control over how all resources (including government and the legal system, which are also economic goods) are to be deployed, are handed, unearned, to yahoos. Not because they have produced, created, understood, comprehended… anything. But simply because they happened to “own” something which is artificially favored by money printing.

            It’s effectively no different, at all, from handing similar control to people based on how close they were to The Kremlin. Hence won’t end any differently. Pretty darned dystopian, IOW.

    • 0 avatar

      “Our management is paralyzed about what to do”

      Update your resume and start looking for a new job. Things will go south. Your company will go way of Kodak and Xerox. I hope your company is not on East coast.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    Anyone else notice the 3 R1T’s in the background of the Blue Origin recovery? There were 3 R1T’s, one Raptor, and one Tahoe/Suburban.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I missed that detail.

      All I noticed was the GM tearing through the desert to get there quickly.

      Using the R1T is a clear slap at Tesla. Mr Bezos can’t let SpaceX’s use of Model Xs go unanswered.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Catch “Long Way Up” on the Disney channel: The tip of South America to Los Angeles on two Harley-Davidson Livewires converted into adventure tourers (by HD). And the backup fleet was a pair of prototype Rivians. That’s a good way to get a lot of the bugs out, but it takes a certain amount of balls to be willing to do It in front of the cameras.

      I just finished episode 5, and it’s ending with the first Rivian breakdown.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    I can see the argument about a start up car company having teething issues getting more forgiveness versus a car company with more than a century of car building experience. Not saying it right. Just that there is an appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Rivian will have a honeymoon for a while.

      That honeymoon is almost over for Tesla; they need to get their quality act together. One reason I balked on buying a Model 3 was the obvious quality issues on the car in the store showroom (2018).

      I bought a Hyundai instead. Three years later, a coworker has a Model Y with the same panel mismatches I saw back then.

      I suspect Rivian doesn’t have the same hubris as Tesla, so perhaps they’ve watched and learned.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    Now, they’re headquartered here in town, but I did see my first non-camo’d, production-looking R1T (same color as the tweet) this morning. Who knows how it is as a product and whether anyone beyond the $$$ fanbois will buy it, helping to get them to that stupid valuation. But it is eye-catching, even moreso than the full-fat Bronco I saw an hour later, which looks great in photos but seems kinda underwhelming on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The Rivian is a nice design. While I think the initial reviews were maybe a touch rosier than reality it seems like nice product.

      I think price will be an issue though. From what I can tell the average F-150 price in 2020 was $47K, the Lightning starts at $40K and an XLT starts at $52K. A crew cab Lightning Pro with the bigger battery is $50K before tax credit, has a 300 mile range and the onboard generator capabilities. That’s a killer app. The specs for the Lightning Pro and even the XLT are so good I really wonder if Ford can pull it off without making a major trade off somewhere.

      The Rivian starts at $68K and has Porsche style option pricing. An “Adventure” trim with the big battery is already over $80K.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        It’s obviously not trying to compete against an average F-150, though, any more than a Tesla Model 3 is trying to compete against a Camry. It’s a lifestyle vehicle for the rich, a competitor to the F-150 Raptor or Limited but with green cred and a much, much nicer interior. Even the F-150 Lightning Platinum will run you more (possibly much more) than $70k.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “It’s a lifestyle vehicle for the rich”

          So what are Rivian’s volume expectations?

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            From what I’ve read, they’re targeting assembly capacity of 40,000 vehicles in the first full year, ramping eventually to 200k by 2023 (which would be worldwide production for the pickup, the related SUV and the delivery van).

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @Astigmatism:
          “It’s obviously not trying to compete against an average F-150”

          Having seen the Rivian truck in person, it’s clear they’re competing against the Tacoma and the Frontier, but with a premium interior and thoughtful storage features to justify the higher price.

          It’s not an F-150, and it’s not trying to be.

          I looked up the sales numbers of the Tacoma, and they sell about 250k units per year. I also looked up for the Jeep Grand Cherokee (the likely target for the Rivian SUV), and that’s also about 250k units a year. I bet those are about the sales numbers they’re looking for. That’s nowhere close to F-150 numbers, but so what? If Rivian has a viable business plan and a nice product, they’ll be successful.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        The Lightning is probably going to sell at a loss, underwritten by F-150 sales. Pricing is sure to climb with sales volume.

        Rivian doesn’t have the luxury of a wide portfolio to pad losses elsewhere.

  • avatar
    GregLocock

    Quick (oratorical) question. Are BEVs actually profitable right now? That is, are the new vehicle buyers willing to pay the usual markup on them?

    If not then that is why existing manufacturers will continue to reserve development dollars and production line space for IC vehicles, which are around 93% of new vehicle sales. Because that’s where they make the money.

  • avatar
    downunder

    First I saw a RIVEN was a photo of one in Sydney on a pallet. Nice looking truck. I don’t know if I have the right vehicle, but does this have the motor’s in the hubs, or is it a normal “drive shaft” setup. The second time was watching two of them transport Will Shatner and company to Blue Origins Phallus. Innuendo’s start here->

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Four words: price elasticity of demand.
    The market for $80,000 pickups is limited and Rivian does NOT have access to the entire market, their share will be minuscule. And they know it.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Rivian will live and die on sales to the Lariat/King Ranch/Platinum crowd. Fleet managers won’t have a bit of interest in a Rivian. Fleet managers are cost-driven to include running spreadsheets on the costs of running a truck. Nary a bit of interest. Oh, and your fleet manager will get their coffee at a gas station and wait for the auto-parts store to make their delivery.

  • avatar

    “Fleet managers won’t have a bit of interest in a Rivian.”

    If they woke they will.

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