Rivian Crossover

Peter del Rio

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Rivian has the performance advantage in the EV market with 4 motor torque vectoring and battery technology to build the safest, best handling, long range Crossover to fulfill the largest sector of the auto market. In the U.S. light vehicle market, Crossovers are first with 40%, then Pickups with 17% and fifth are SUVs with 8%.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/276506/change-in-us-car-demand-by-vehicle-type/

What would the R1R look like as a crossover and what would you want from it?

Would it be named R1R or R1C?
 

Hmp10

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The definition of a crossover is a vehicle that is based on a car platform, and they typically have unibody construction and weights that put them in the "light vehicle" classification. So, unless Rivian adds an utterly different skateboard to its line-up, any smaller vehicle they might make would not be a crossover.

Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes, Ford, and perhaps soon Volvo are entering the mass EV market with crossovers. Rivian has charted a different path -- wisely, I think.
 
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Peter del Rio

Peter del Rio

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A crossover is the combination of a sedan and an SUV, essentially a hatchback.

For example, the Jaguar's iPace has a wheelbase of 117 in compared to the R1S at 121 in. The reason the BMW i3 handles so well is because all the wheels are on the four corners of the vehicle. That is also true for the R1R.

Rivian may have a performance advantage with torque vectoring and greater battery range, but what Rivian does not have is economies of scale.

Currently, the EV market is moving from proof of concept to economies of scale with Tesla Giga factories being built in less than a year around the world. Meaning the profit margin for EVs will now be determined by the factory not the vehicle and that is why Elon Musk recognizes the value of his factories.

That being said, Rivian's performance advantage coupled with their skateboard technology allows Rivian to compete on economies of scale by placing all their vehicles on one platform.

Its too soon to speak about mass customization enabled by CAD/CAM and AI, but offering the most demanded vehicles on a Rivian skateboard seems like the best way to compete in a fast growing EV marketplace.

A Rivian crossover would be awesome and most likely break the 3 sec 0 to 60 time while offering ranges greater than 400 miles.

If you could buy only one EV, the Rivian crossover would be hard to resist.

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A crossover is the combination of a sedan and an SUV, essentially a hatchback.
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Definitions of a crossover:

"The traditional SUV is usually based on a truck chassis while crossovers are built on car chassis. This means that crossovers have a unibody construction where the frame and body are one piece." (Autolist)

"A crossover— also called crossover or CUV— is a type of vehicle with unibody construction. Crossovers are often based on a platform shared with a passenger car . . . ." (Wikipedia)

"For many car experts, the difference between the two is simple: A crossover is based on a car's platform, while an SUV uses the chassis of a truck. The result is that crossovers use 'unibody' architecture, meaning the body and frame are one piece, while SUVs use a "body on frame" design." (Autotrader)

"SUVs are built on pickup truck platforms, while crossovers are built on sedan platforms." (The News Wheel)

"But not all shoppers were comfortable with the handling and fuel economy sacrifices that a traditional truck-like SUV required. Manufacturers solved that problem with crossovers, which feature a lighter-weight unibody construction." (Auto.com)

I could go on, but suffice it to say that I could not find a single source that defines a crossover as a hybrid of a sedan and an SUV. They are not "crossing" a sedan with an SUV. The structural advantages of a unibody platform -- rigidity, light weight, lower fuel consumption -- are "crossing over" from a passenger car application to a more utility-based cabin design.

If a smaller body is placed on a smaller Rivian skateboard, it will just be a smaller SUV, not a crossover. This is more than just semantics. Rivian has designed a very heavy skateboard for a specific set of uses: four motors and four transmissions for extreme traction and control in rough terrain; a body-on-frame design to give high towing capacity and more chassis flexion for off-road use; boxy bodies to maximum interior and cargo space; large battery packs to give acceptable range while handling the heavy weight of the drivetrain and chassis and the relatively poor aerodynamics of cargo-oriented bodies.

To create a vehicle with the features that make a CUV a CUV, Rivian could not simply slap a smaller body on a scaled-down skateboard of its current design. It would require a fundamentally different skateboard and drivetrain with a different kind of chassis/body integration. In other words, it would start turning into a Tesla Model X or Model Y.
 
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Peter del Rio

Peter del Rio

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Are you really referencing the definition of a crossover for ICE vehicles?

Forgive me but you missed my point completely. In the abstract, different Rivian vehicles can all be built on the same skateboard platform leveraging the technological advantages of Rivian while providing economies of scale.

Why would you ever want a smaller body on a scaled down platform? You do realize the iPace has the same wheelbase as a R1S less 4 inches.

What you want is rally car performance in a hatchback that you can drive and use everywhere.

There is a reason why 40% of all new vehicles are a crossover.
 

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There is also a reason Rivian is entering the market with an SUV as one of its first vehicles. Rolls-Royce just announced a 25% increase in annual sales over its previous high in 2018. It said the record sales increase was driven by the introduction of the Cullinan, its SUV.

EV's are still expensive relative to ICE counterparts, driven mostly by battery costs and the need to amortize development costs over fewer vehicles. Every ultra-luxury carmaker who has brought SUV's to market (Rolls, Bentley, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Ferrari) has seen them sell well, often better than industry predictions. This has proven that SUVs are almost uniquely attractive to people across age, wealth, and use demographics. For a new manufacturer's electric SUV to sell well around the $100K price point, it's going to have to draw more than buyers for whom this EV will be their first purchase near that price point. It's going to require a pool of well-heeled buyers who are interested in novelty and not worried about dropping $100K on a vehicle from an unproven manufacturer.

With Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes, Volvo, and Ford bringing EV's to the crossover market earlier or at roughly the same time Rivian is entering the EV market, I think Rivian is very wise to choose an entry point that will be significantly less populated with offerings for the first couple of years.

You point out that crossovers constitute about 40% of the U.S. car market while trucks constitute 17% and SUV's about 8%. That is the very reason that the big automakers have made their early EV entries with crossover vehicles and not wanted to make their initial investments in lower-volume segments -- thereby creating a perfect business opportunity for Rivian to develop a skateboard that can be used not only for its own vehicles but as platforms to sell to other automakers who are not motivated to make their own investments in EV pickups and SUVs.

You say you're not asking for a smaller body on a scaled down platform, but that you want a vehicle with "rally car performance in a hatchback that you can drive and use everywhere". Other than a hatchback in the rear, isn't that what the R1S already is?
 
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A rally car delivered as a crossover is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

One of the advantages of Rivian is the torque vectoring with 4 separate motors enabling AI assisted handling.

Do you really want to be blasting around in 2-3 ton truck or in a 1 - 2 ton crossover?

EVs just perform better and with torque vectoring can now handle better.

The question facing Rivian is, 'Does it want to be niche player in trucks and SUVs offering a platform to other manufacturers that will keep cost down by offering inferior products to Teslas?'

Or does Rivian want to offer an alternative to the excellent cars Tesla offers?

Tesla's Cybertruck has over 250,000 orders already changing the landscape by offering a vehicle that embraces form and function shaped as an airfoil with a range of over 500 miles at half the price of a R1T.

Tesla has found the economies of scale through their design. Rivian needs to do the same with their skateboard or forever be a niche player.

The proof of concept is over, now EVs will compete on economies of scale, driving down price so customers no longer have to pay a $100K for a vehicle.

How will Rivian compete?

A rally car dressed as a crossover is a good place to start.
 
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Rivian has described themselves as an aspirational brand. Doesn't that make them a niche player by definition? Perhaps your vision for Rivian is different from theirs.

Rivian has a very clear and solid plan for how they expect to scale, that's what netted them almost $3B in investments last year when other startups are still wondering where the cash will come from. I'm not going to waste my time playing armchair CEO and second guessing their business plan.
 

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I am probably going to wait to buy until I see the Rally Car. If it has good specs, I will probably go for that over the truck. I was looking at the truck so i can tow an RV, but the range loss is just too large. Also, I like a sporty feel, and I doubt the truck is going to feel that sporty with air suspension. Especially when lowered and the bags are at low pressure.
 

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Also, I like a sporty feel, and I doubt the truck is going to feel that sporty with air suspension. Especially when lowered and the bags are at low pressure.
I think you are going to be very very surprised at how sporty the R1T/S are going to be. While the spring rate will likely vary with ride height, use of an accumulator will help mitigate this (ie, the ride won't be brittle when raised which would be horrible off road and it won't be floaty when lowered which wouldn't be any fun to drive). Also keep in mind that the purpose of the spring is to support the weight of the vehicle and the damper tuning will largely determine the ride and handling characteristics. Rivian is using what is probably the most sophisticated suspension system available today. Combine that with the low mounted mass of the batteries and I expect the handling of these vehicles to be truly mind boggling - Rivian has stated that it will be exceptional.

Regarding a future rally car, keep in mind that will also need to be "softly sprung" as stiffer springs reduce the amount of available wheel travel which is not desirable in anything going off road. I also don't expect Rivian's rally car design to drift far from the truck or suv especially if it is still based on the R1 platform although it may be tuned slightly different.
 

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I think you are going to be very very surprised at how sporty the R1T/S are going to be. While the spring rate will likely vary with ride height, use of an accumulator will help mitigate this (ie, the ride won't be brittle when raised which would be horrible off road and it won't be floaty when lowered which wouldn't be any fun to drive). Also keep in mind that the purpose of the spring is to support the weight of the vehicle and the damper tuning will largely determine the ride and handling characteristics. Rivian is using what is probably the most sophisticated suspension system available today. Combine that with the low mounted mass of the batteries and I expect the handling of these vehicles to be truly mind boggling - Rivian has stated that it will be exceptional.

Regarding a future rally car, keep in mind that will also need to be "softly sprung" as stiffer springs reduce the amount of available wheel travel which is not desirable in anything going off road. I also don't expect Rivian's rally car design to drift far from the truck or suv especially if it is still based on the R1 platform although it may be tuned slightly different.
If it is near the sportiness of my Subaru, I would be happy.

Rally cars are not for off-road. Rallying is all on-road in a point-to-point race, rather than a circuit. Some of the best rally cars were minis that had very little suspension travel. The common suspension today is a fixed height with adjustable rate coilovers.
 

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I don't really want to get into semantics about the definition of a crossover lol....

But, I would be super into a station wagon or smaller 4 door SUV...200"+ vehicles are too big (in my opinion) for urban environments. GM just EXTENDED the Tahoe/Yukon to 210" - strikes me the last vestiges of an intellectually/innovative bankruptcy of old American car makers. Seems absurd to me. Bigger is worse for me not better - Americans have this concept that a massive vehicle is somehow more valuable. Ridiculous. They are just too hard to park and most people spend most of their time driving alone or with 1 other passenger. Have kids and then maybe 4.

In additional most truck owners not only drive alone, but their bed is empty. Sure they use it sometimes, but...So with the frunk and ample cargo room (no 3rd row which I would hazard is seldom used), I could easily see at sub 190" SUV/station wagon - Jeep grand Cherokee and Jeep wronger are both sub-190". Be fun to drive as well...

The 'off-road' bent of Rivian is cool, and I get that is their 'niche' for the first versions, but even off-road people don't usually off-road more than a couple times a month (and thats a ton)...they usually drive on paved roads some massive percentage of the time. Let alone a vast majority of the driving public. Snow, rain, serious dirt roads covers some huge percentage of the driving public - rock crawling is nice I guess, but more of a marketing schtick and if they can get great road manners w/ it then even better. My point is the next generation it would be cool to see something a little different in the Rivian portfolio....
 
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