Possible First Peek at Rivian's Future Rally Model

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Take A Look In The Background

While taking some spy shots of the Rivian R1T being driven around its Michigan headquarters (complete with its modular roof rack in place), our photographers noticed something very interesting in the background. Visible through an open door, a blue design buck can be seen, and it has a shape that's completely different from the R1T pickup and R1S SUV that wowed everyone at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Intrigued, we ran the photos by an associate with decades of experience working in one The Big Three’s design studios. Our source confirmed that what’s on unintentional display appears to be a seating buck for a new design that's under consideration.

What’s a Seating Buck, Exactly?

A seating buck is a very early stage of the design process, which represents one the first physical manifestations of the design’s ergonomics. The rough form—usually built out of plywood and painted foam—gives designers a real-world chance to sample the ergonomics and sight lines of a design. The seating buck provides a hands-on opportunity to sample a design's packaging, head clearance, and the vision enabled around the A-, B- and C-pillar, as well as the back glass. So the shape revealed on this particular seating buck would be representative of what the stylists have in mind for the packaging of the design under consideration.

So What Does It Tell Us?
The seating buck is clearly a four-door design, with an arching silhouette that is a complete departure from the very linear roof line seen on Rivian's R1T and R1S. The seating buck’s foam panels also suggest the possibility of drastically flared front fenders. While our designer source told us not to make too much of the exterior look of the seating buck’s shape, he acknowledged that the bulging nature of the buck’s front fender could have some meaning, as the visibility tests could very likely include the outward view of the car’s extremities—namely its hood and front flanks. If that is the case, what this seating buck reveals is a very nice match for what was promised by Rivian’s CEO in media interviews.

A Rally-Raid Style Performance Car
In an LA Auto Show report, British Mag Autocar wrote: “Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said that the model to follow its initial R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV would be ‘bananas’ in the way it performed.” Scaringe was quoted as saying: “The third vehicle will have a smaller wheelbase [than the R1S SUV] and will be the Rivian interpretation of a rally car with a lot of ground clearance.” The article goes on to further call it a “rally-raid style performance car.”

The description of Rivian’s promised third model is largely consistent with what we see on the seating buck tucked inside its workshop. The arching roofline is certainly car-like, and a departure from the R1T and R1S. And those supposed flared front fenders—one can make the case that they further support the promise of a Rally-Raid model being fettled as Rivian’s third model offering.

A Fleeting Glimpse, But Compelling Nonetheless

The question of whether an automotive EV startup can actually deliver on its promised performance and actually reach production is always the issue when something makes a splash like Rivian did with the R1T and R1S. Is it vaporware? Can the claims of the CEO be trusted in light of the harsh realities of the automotive industry and the EV market?

While this quick, long lens peek inside a Rivian workshop gives us just a brief glimpse at the seating buck in question, we’re fascinated that it seems to match up with the CEO’s promised follow-up to the company’s first salvo. The R1T and R1S were reportedly the result of about a decade’s work, and the outside world knew nothing of what was in store until they debuted under the bright lights of a major auto show. To perhaps get a taste of Rivian’s next project—at a very early stage—is very compelling.


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Electronaut

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Wish we could see more! But from what we can see that's an ultra aggressive design with super flared fenders and very angular lines. It's a good start :)
 

VSukx

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Hopefully it's not 10 years of development on the Rally version! Can't wait for more tho they will probably be doing into defcon 5 shutdown because of this 'leak' ..thanks guys lol
 

franke

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Cant really tell much from this other than it is being worked on but good to know it is.. and that roof rack on the R1T !
 

GreenMonster

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First I've seen the roof rack attached! It's nice and sleek as I've hoped.

You guys think the Rally Rivian model will be called the R1R?
 
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So are we talking about a WRX type vehicle or something that'll create its own niche and segment? Just hope that the Rally Rivian is not an answer to a question that nobody is asking (or buying). Even with Amazon's recent investment, I'm sure Rivian's cash burn rate is high, so I'd hate to see them waste money chasing a model that won't provide a sound ROI.
 

RefugeEV

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So are we talking about a WRX type vehicle or something that'll create its own niche and segment? Just hope that the Rally Rivian is not an answer to a question that nobody is asking (or buying). Even with Amazon's recent investment, I'm sure Rivian's cash burn rate is high, so I'd hate to see them waste money chasing a model that won't provide a sound ROI.
Looks bigger and taller than a WRX. I'm hoping it's a rugged little off-road capable crossover sized like the Juke, C-HR, CX3, but cooler looking than those.
 

CappyJax

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So are we talking about a WRX type vehicle or something that'll create its own niche and segment? Just hope that the Rally Rivian is not an answer to a question that nobody is asking (or buying). Even with Amazon's recent investment, I'm sure Rivian's cash burn rate is high, so I'd hate to see them waste money chasing a model that won't provide a sound ROI.
I agree. They are playing Tesla’s game of too many irons in the fire. Wait until profitability before starting new projects.
 

A Hawk

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I agree. They are playing Tesla’s game of too many irons in the fire. Wait until profitability before starting new projects.
Might not be the soundest financial move but projects like this certainly generate buzz, which could turn out to be a sound financial move if it helps them sell the R1T and R1S when they launch. As well as with an eventual stock IPO. One thing's for sure - no way Tesla would have had as much cash and its shares trade in such crazy high multiples without the buzz and hype it's been able to generate.
 

CappyJax

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Might not be the soundest financial move but projects like this certainly generate buzz, which could turn out to be a sound financial move if it helps them sell the R1T and R1S when they launch. As well as with an eventual stock IPO. One thing's for sure - no way Tesla would have had as much cash and its shares trade in such crazy high multiples without the buzz and hype it's been able to generate.
You do realize that Tesla is in serious financial trouble, right?
 

A Hawk

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You do realize that Tesla is in serious financial trouble, right?
Absolutely. My point is it would have long been bankrupt without the capital it's been able to attract due to the interest and buzz it (Musk) generates. I personally much prefer Rivian's approach of staying low key and letting its products / technology mostly speak for itself. But some buzz and hype doesn't hurt attract investors and capital, vital to a startup.
 

ACDC

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Looks like it could be a 4 door hatchback. The beefy rally-like fenders remind me of this.


2017 Civic Hatchback Prototype New York Debut-15.jpg
2017 Civic Hatchback Prototype New York Debut-21.jpg
 

Ranma

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I love that Scaringe said that it will be "bananas" in how the rally model will perform. The R1T and R1S performance figures are already staggering, if the rally model is bananas compared to those, it's going to be :surprised:

You guys think the Rally Rivian model will be called the R1R?
R1R would make total sense for a name.
 

skyote

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Obviously a 4 door, but I'm hoping for something more exciting like a Rally Fighter. I've seen a couple...they definitely get attention.
6740c703288f23df10cc1d2b0721fb2e_large.jpg
 

Hall Monitor

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Obviously a 4 door, but I'm hoping for something more exciting like a Rally Fighter. I've seen a couple...they definitely get attention.
6740c703288f23df10cc1d2b0721fb2e_large.jpg
That would be totally out of the box and awesome!

Wouldn't be surprised if it was something radical looking judging by the spied body shell and by Scaringe's description of it as a lifted car with short wheelbase and a lot of ground clearance.
 
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