Little has been written about US company Rivian on these pages. Rivian is an electronic vehicle start-up. They burst onto the scene this year at the Los Angeles Motor Show 2018 with concepts for an SUV and pick up truck. The company now plans to develop a third, smaller vehicle, based on the idea of an electronic rally car.
The third model will get a shorter wheelbase than the Rivian R1S SUV with plenty of ground clearance and an EV powertrain. With their first two concept cars, Rivian has placed itself firmly into the off-road market place. It remains to be seen who the rally car will be aimed at, Rivian’s other two vehicles seem focused solely on the consumer so we assume that the rally car will have a road use too.
The US company recently purchased a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois where it plans to develop and build its vehicles. The company was founded by RJ Scaringe, an MIT graduate and has been running since 2009. It was recently revealed that the company has investment to the tune of $175 million together with a staff of around 400 employees.
The factory the company purchased has a 200,000 cars per year capacity and cost Rivian $16 million. The sale included a fully functioning factory with paint shop, robotics, stamping machines, and other production equipment.
The idea of an EV SUV and pickup truck will undoubtedly appeal to the US market which favours these models. That said, Rivian faces stiff competition from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. All three have caught up with the EV market and are planning, or have already released, competition of their own.
Details surrounding the rally car inspired vehicle are very thin on the ground. Rivian’s SUV and pickup ideas are more widely known. The R1T pickup truck is planned to be released during the fourth quarter of 2020 with the R1S SUV to follow some time after. Both cars will sit on the same chassis with three power options.
Rivian’s 180 kWh system will be the most expensive with a range in excess of 660 km (410 miles). This system will produce 700 hp and 1,120 Nm of instant torque. A slightly lower capacity 135 kWh will sacrifice range for a sub-3 second 60 mph sprint time from the equivalent of 754 hp.