Rivian's Long, Messy Road to Its First Electric Pickup Truck [Bloomberg]

ccmun

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SeaGeo

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Could not pull up the video, but the story is a great read. Did not know that AlJ's Hassan was a major inspiration.
I just love that a rogue windshield wiper (?) Is apparently the red flag for Rivian right now. 😐
 

Aroohoo

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It is fair. If you dig into RJ’s early companies, it’s not the perfect image that Rivian is pushing today.
Sounds like the prototypical startup. Sell an idea, get money, run out of money, pivot, sell new idea, get money, run out of money, pivot...
 

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Thanks for sharing, it was an interesting read. It's pretty wild the events young Rivian had to go through. Even more so with all the staff who stuck with it up until now.

That little story about the marathon was kind of charming. I wonder how true it is.
 
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I didn't know they were not an EV company originally. It sounds like only after several iterations, funding rounds, did Rivian go for this exact product we see today.

I hate to ask the question; but as an automotive startup in the decade of 2010-2020; the trend was either be Tesla, make SUV/truck/crossover/confused vehicles, and uber-exotic sports cars (Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari). Those 3 areas were obviously hot.

It doesn't sound all that farfetched that Rivian was like; let's just do two of these in one - and try a pure electric company making what is selling (big vehicles). So did Tesla influence Rivian to be...what we see today?

80bn valuation is just going to be something to see. I believe, you believe, we all believe....we are idiots for not buying every share of Tesla we could at any point 3-5-6 years ago. So the valuation seems reasonable-ish - until I see every other EV company valuation. Rivian is obviously superbly well funded (ahem Lordstown). Rivian is got a product literally hitting the market anyday (slow trickle it looks like?). Rivian has product market fit - somewhat. Is it a mall cruiser, is it a work truck, is it a off-roader - or is it all 3?

Lucid has really gained some value - and sits at 40bn market cap. Lucid sounds like they have some secret sauce between range, aerodynamics and battery - which is really going to make this EV field pretty damn interesting. Lucid is super well capitalized like Rivian - so it isn't Nikola or Lordstown.

This is going to be a wild and crazy 2-3 years coming up (brands going bankrupt, small brands consolidating, brands that want to license platforms (like VW MEB or Rivian Skateboard and what it was going to be for Lincoln), brands that are acquired by bigger brands (I still think Tesla should just acquire Rivian - to strengthen their position). Something about Lucid seems like they are going to reset expectations in the industry ; Tesla is going to have some real competition from pure-tech EV brands like Rivian, Lucid and established players in practically no time. If Rivian and Tesla don't merge; Lucid is my next hope. I think Lucid is going to "be gone" in no time. If their tech really is that good, they are the perfect acquisition for any company trying to enter the EV market in the biggest way possible (think BMW, Toyota, and other companies who have been slow to attempt anything beyond a PHEV).

One thing I worry about with Rivian is they might not be pushing the envelope enough with tech (fast charging, battery tech, aerodynamics - as best they can improve on). Plus I think consumers (especially myself), want to see well built, reliable, and comfortable vehicles. Everything serious in the EV space is a 50k+ purchase; and I know the established autos have a lot to say for themselves in those price ranges (build, paint, performance). I do not want to play phone-upgrade with my vehicle, and the EV market (while in its infancy) seems to have a ton...of that going on. Once supply meets demand, the resale prices start to drop (think back to original iphone/Android phone releases - and how hard they could be to find. Now remind yourself how crazy phone depreciation was for most devices after the Industry got past its infancy - made key improvements, and have supply at all price points.

I want a Rivian that will be just as good in 2023, as it was in 2025. So while I'm anxious to see vehicles hit the market....I want to see what's next. Where are the new batteries, where are the range improvements, when is faster charging hitting the market, what is the autopilot situation. Crazy world in the EV market - haven't even delivered vehicles yet, and people are like when is v2 coming?

Sounds like the prototypical startup. Sell an idea, get money, run out of money, pivot, sell new idea, get money, run out of money, pivot...
 

Coast2Coast

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I found the Bloomberg article out of step with where Rivian is today.

If it had been published six or even three months ago, before production had started in Normal, before Motor Trend chronicled the TAT, before 25 auto journalists universally applauded the R1T's on-road and off-road performance, before Rivian announced it was looking for a second U.S. factory site with battery R&D capability, before Rivian filed for an IPO, before the details of the S1 were revealed, then maybe focusing on Rivian's early stumbles may have made some sense.

But, now, the article seems anachronistic, out of step with where Rivian is and, more importantly, with where Rivian will be soon - capitalized as one of America's largest auto makers and on a trajectory to reshape an industry that is heavily geared in favor of pickups and SUVs. And we know Rivian has smaller vehicles in development, not to mention commercial van possibilities.

The Bloomberg guy exacerbates his mistaken review of Rivian by saying at the end of his piece, "But the market for electric trucks and SUVs has steadily shrunk as the incumbent auto giants have fast-tracked plans for their own battery-powered workhorses." That's just wrong. The market for electric trucks and SUVs is just getting going. What I think he meant to say was Rivian will have competition, but that's a good thing. The market will grow and consumers will have choices. (And it won't be so easy for legacy auto companies with their engrained production and operational systems and entrenched ways of doing things to change their ways.)

I don't think we'll see anything from incumbent auto makers that rivals the R1's 4 motors, one for each wheel, air suspension, kinetic hydraulic dampers, skateboards with large and max battery capacities, luxurious interiors, state-of-the-art software management of the BMS, suspension, infotainment system and autonomous driving capabilities. As long as Rivian delivers on reliability and service, Rivian will sell a ton of vehicles. There's plenty of room to grow. I don't expect Ford, GM, Stellantis and even Tesla to compete in the same segments that Rivian does and, even if they do, will they deliver what we believe and expect Rivian to deliver?
 
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SeaGeo

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I don't think we'll see anything from incumbent auto makers that rivals the R1's 4 motors, one for each wheel, air suspension, kinetic hydraulic dampers, skateboards with large and max battery capacities, luxurious interiors, state-of-the-art software management of the BMS, suspension, infotainment system and autonomous driving capabilities. As long as Rivian delivers on reliability and service, Rivian will sell a ton of vehicles. There's plenty of room to grow. I don't expect Ford, GM, Stellantis and even Tesla to compete in the same segments that Rivian does and, even if they do, will they deliver what we believe and expect Rivian to deliver?
And size. I don't want (and haven't wanted) a 300 foot long truck. For years I've wanted an electric Taco. And then I moved over to wanting an electric Ridgeline. They basically have the entire midsized truck segment to themselves. Plus squeeking into the fullsize for people that don't necessarily need a full length bed all the time. Plus everything you mentioned. If the R1T didn't exist, or I couldn't afford it.... I'd probably be sticking with a crossover or considering the lightning but that would not be a slam dunk for the lightning.


Quick edit: an electrified 4wd 300 mile Maverick @$40kish would be a hard option for me to ignore even with the R1T on market.
 
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