After revealing its Tesla-rivalling electric pickup and SUV, Rivian is already planning its third model.
One of the biggest surprises at the 2018 LA Auto Show was the debut of the Tesla-rivalling Rivian R1T, an electric pickup truck with 754 hp, a 0-62 mph time of three seconds, and an impressive range of up to 400 miles. Its SUV sibling, the R1S, also debuted alongside the R1T. Looking ahead, Rivian is already planning to introduce a third model with a completely different body style.
According to Autocar, it will be an electric rally-raid style performance car with “bananas” performance. “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,” Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe told the publication.
He added that every car Rivian makes has a “combination of on and off-road performance, and a level of functionality that’s unique in its space.” Construction will take place in a former Mitsubishi plant that’s currently being converted to Rivian’s requirements, but plenty of the existing infrastructure and machinery will be used.
Rivian is also planning to offer the modular skateboard chassis underpinning its car to other manufacturers, providing they don’t make competing models. Several carmakers have already approached Rivian, and other non-carmakers are also interested in entering the auto industry with the pre-made architecture. Online retailers launching their own delivery vehicles could utilize it, for example, as the flexible chassis can be applied to any type of vehicle, from cars to public transport. “You could build an 800-hp R1T truck or a goods delivery van, or a shuttle bus,” said Scaringe.
Rivian also plans to produce its models in limited units to stop the brand being too diluted and trying to appeal to a wider customer base. Its model range will also be sold worldwide in both left- and right-hand drive. “California is a huge market here,” said Scaringe. “But China, Europe, North America too, and in right-hand drive [for UK] – in Australia, South Africa. I’ve had lots of requests in the past 24 hours, it’s been a united nations of countries.”
Where possible, Rivian plans to sell directly to customers but will partner with dealers in locations where this isn’t allowed. “We’ll offer direct sale in a lot of areas where possible,” said Scaringe. “In some markets and states [where it isn’t possible] we’ll have partners. Then we’ll have partners on back-end things like servicing. We will own the customer service and experience – it’s important to own that. Dealers understand how to manage scale and how to add value on servicing and parts.”