Rivian CEO discusses company's ‘disruptor’ plans

Discussion in 'Rivian General Discussions' started by Electronaut, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Electronaut

    Electronaut Active Member

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    Saw this interview on Autoexpress recently. Certainly sounds like Robert 'RJ' Scaringe has a plan in place and the R1S and R1T won't just be vaporware like so many electric startups. You guys convinced??


    Link: https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/105616/watch-out-tesla-rivian-boss-reveals-disruptor-plans

    We speak to Rivian founder and CEO Robert 'RJ' Scaringe to discover how the new US EV start-up is thinking big

    Tesla has proved that it’s possible for a car company to go from nothing to one of the industry’s biggest stories in just a few years. But the established brands already know they’ll face dozens of so-called ‘disruptors’ over the next decade. One of the freshest arrivals is Rivian, and Auto Express has had a chance to catch up with the man behind the firm.

    Robert ‘RJ’ Scaringe is a graduate of the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been an entrepreneur for most of his life. But as a lifelong car fan, he’d worked out by his early twenties that he really wanted his own auto company.

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    There were plenty of false starts over a nine-year period, as Scaringe adjusted Rivian’s ‘raison d’etre’. But when the firm did finally show its first two models, the R1T pick-up and R1S seven-seat SUV, they were among the most talked-about vehicles at last November’s Los Angeles Motor Show.

    How could a company with nearly 600 staff and this level of preparation appear virtually from nowhere? The answer is simple: patience. “We had a policy to be very deliberate about not making big claims or showing stuff that wasn’t ready,” Scaringe told us.

    “The problem with a lot of the companies in this space is a bunch of people who’ve done one per cent of the work claiming they’ve done 90 per cent of the work. For us, it’s the flip of that. We knew people would see us and say ‘Holy smoke! Where did they come from?’”

    Scaringe knows this quiet approach is rare in the current, volatile world of EV launches. “If someone shows a car, and says they’re going to start making it within 18 months, ask them how many people they’ve got on their books,” he said. “If the answer is 50 people then they’re not going to have a car being made in 18 months. Or five years, even. It takes a long time to build a team like this.”

    Accordingly, in addition to its headcount, and engineering facilities in California and the UK, Rivian already has a factory in place; it’s an ex-Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois. “We bought it for about $16million,” said Scaringe. “We’ll invest $200m in the place and then we will, in effect, have a brand new, state-of-the-art facility that would otherwise have cost a couple of billion bucks.”

    First deliveries of the maker’s first two products are due in 2020 and right-hand-drive Rivians should hit the UK by 2021.

    The company’s battery, electric motor and chassis tech can be licensed to other brands, too; indeed, the idea is stitched into the business plan. “We’re not of the belief that the existing auto industry is wrong,” Scaringe said. “There’s a lot of strong capability there, but they do have structural challenges, with doing new platforms and so forth.

    “We are actively in talks with both car manufacturers and non-car manufacturers about them using our tech on models that don’t directly compete with ours.”

    There are plenty of other start-ups vying to steal sales from the established order, but as electric motors and battery tech become more widely available, they’re democratising who can build cars.

    Scaringe is a fascinating example of how a really exciting new arrival can come out of nowhere. And he’s unlikely to be the last.
     
  2. Revelation

    Revelation Active Member

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    I wouldn't have put a deposit down if I thought they were vaporware. They seem like they have a good plan, already having a factory was a huge plus.
     
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  3. Electronaut

    Electronaut Active Member

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    Agreed. That one fact seems to separate Rivian from most of the other competitor startups - Bollinger, Atlis, etc.

    Having a path to production in place already puts them way ahead and actual production so much more likely!
     
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  4. PoorPilot

    PoorPilot Well-Known Member

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    I’ll admit, I jumped on the band wagon early on. Early deposits for both models, but the fact that they already have a factory and are currently renovating it to work for them was a huge plus. Also hearing R.J. speak in a video at the LA show showed me he has his [email protected] together and knows what he has to do to succeed. He and Elon seem to speak on a different level when discussing their visions. Quite impressive if you ask me.
     
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  5. CappyJax

    CappyJax Well-Known Member

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    I knew very little about Rivian before November, and had placed them in the same category as Atlis. Lots of promises, but nothing to see. I follow the EV scene pretty closely, so I was shocked with their November unveiling and announcements. They have the money, they have the plant, they have done their homework. Atlis is a bunch of kids promoting technologies that don't yet exist. They are just repeating the claims of other companies that haven't produced such as Grabat with their 15 to charge batteries at 1,000wg/kg. Before November, I was thinking that a crappy built Tesla truck would be my only option for an electric hauler. So glad there is a company doing what Musk talks about.
     
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  6. Electronaut

    Electronaut Active Member

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    Totally agree. What do you think about Bollinger and their EV SUV and their chances?
     
  7. PoorPilot

    PoorPilot Well-Known Member

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    I like the Bollinger, but it’s a little too “tank-like” for me. That’s why I’m leaning towards the Rivian because it not only has the ruggedness that I need for my limited off-road use, but it also has the luxury comforts that I would expect from a $75-$100k vehicle.
     
  8. CappyJax

    CappyJax Well-Known Member

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    I think it is an awesome design, but it totally misses the need for the vast majority of people. It is a hobby vehicle and won't sell in large numbers, so I think Bollinger is doomed, unless they can make them very cheaply and sell them for insane prices. It would be a horrible vehicle for everyday use, and I am not sure I'd even want to take it on a cross country as it looks like it would have ridiculous about of wind and road noise. It would undoubtedly be louder than a more aerodynamic luxury SUV with a gas engine. Looks suited only for off-roading or around town driving.

    I, like most people, don't have a large income to buy multiple vehicles, so if I am going to buy an electric vehicle, it has to fit a lot of roles and the Rivian does that. There isn't much the Bollinger can do the Rivian can't, but a lot of things the Rivian can the Bollinger can't. So, that is why I order the Rivian. However, if I had a bunch of disposable income and could afford more than one, the Bollinger would definitely be one of them.
     
  9. CappyJax

    CappyJax Well-Known Member

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    Also, their website is not very good and has several errors which make me think they are not very organized and well staffed.
     
  10. PoorPilot

    PoorPilot Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree. The Bollinger reminds me of the old Box Bronco from the 70's. Incredible vehicle, but not the most practical for most people. The Atlis is another vehicle/truck that advertises some pretty impressive numbers, but only time will tell.

    I hope that Rivian starts putting some more information out there soon as well as giving more people the ability to "kick the tires".
     
  11. CappyJax

    CappyJax Well-Known Member

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    Atlis numbers are achievable if they use the Grabat batteries which are suppose to be 1kw/kg and capable of recharging in 15 minutes. But they haven't released any news about them in 2 years which means they may have run into technical issues that prevent full production. Of course, their timeline is impossible as they don't have any funding, nor facilities. It would take them at least half a decade to build a prototype and test it throughly, then another half a decade for production. I think Ford would beat them with an electric F series.

    And this is likely the reason Rivian remained quiet. They are ahead of a ballgame, so they will beat everyone else to market almost certainly. If they had been announcing their vehicles back in 2012, they might have encouraged their competition to step up ahead of them. In all reality, if Ford has a an electric F-150 with 400 miles of range, I am sure most people who ordered a Rivian would order the F-150 instead. You have a lot of service centers with Ford, and 0 with Rivian. Rivian will have to really cater to its customers like Tesla did to earn wide acceptance.
     
  12. PoorPilot

    PoorPilot Well-Known Member

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    Good points. I must say the service I have received with my Model X has been exceptional, and I'm hoping and mildly expecting the same for a Rivian. One of the questions I hope Rivian answers soon is the service center/mobile service plan. We're all aware of the risks with a first year model, not to mention a new company, so hopefully they will make themselves readily available to fix whatever issues may arise.
     
  13. CappyJax

    CappyJax Well-Known Member

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    The nice thing about electric cars is that drive train issues are almost unheard of. So, we might have minor issues with which to contend, but likely we won't be left stranded.

    Seems like most everything on the Rivian in proven technology. They aren't using anything that hasn't already been used for a while. My only concern is the air bag suspension. I am not sure how theirs works, and I am curious how they over come the squishy low suspension, and stiff high suspension, which is exactly the opposite of what you want in a vehicle. To engineer this out wouldn't be hard at all, but I just haven't seen anyone do it yet.
     
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