Why is Rivian impressive?

Cosmacelf

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There haven't been too many impressive EVs in the last ten years. They can be counted on the fingers on one hand: Tesla Roadster, Tesla Model S, Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3. So being able to add a couple more to the list is a big deal.

The Rivian pickup truck and SUV, assuming they get manufactured, should be added to the list. Here are some reasons.

Like the Model S, which was a no compromise sedan, the R1S SUV is a no compromise SUV. It has the range you need for family trips, it has the cargo capacity, it has fold flat seats, it has a huge powered frunk, it has luxury. And it doesn't have Model X's faults of weird doors that are suited for supercars, but impractical in the school drop off line.

The R1T truck will be a very fun lifestyle vehicle for adventurers - with its four motors, huge torque and enclosed cargo capacity, there won't be a better vehicle for adventure seekers, surfers, toy haulers, etc.

Then there is the technology. Rivian is the first company after Tesla to use small form factor cylindrical battery cells rather than the idiotic pouch cells that the rest of the industry slavishly adheres to. This allows them flexibility in battery sourcing as well as technology gains.

Unlike Tesla, Rivian actually has a common platform for both vehicles. The skateboard is more than just batteries. It has the drivetrain, inverter, cooling, basically everything to make the car go. This saves money and allows them to more easily sell their platform to other manufacturers.

Elon is a genius and woe to anyone who bets against him. However it is hard to miss that Tesla constantly seems to make basic mistakes and then tout that they've learned from them as somehow being an impressive thing (and then make the same mistakes again). Not making basic mistakes in the first place is perhaps more impressive? It is too soon to tell how Rivian will function, but it is run by a guy who earned a Phd in the automotive field. I am going to bet they won't need to do things like running around silicon valley scrounging up USB cables to put into cars to keep their manufacturing line running (which Tesla needed to do early on for Model S).

Like Tesla, Rivian also bought a huge auto manufacturing line on the cheap. And the line is located in Normal, IL, which has a deep bench of experienced manufacturing employees to draw from. This alone puts them ahead of many other EV startups, and is arguably the most important thing Tesla did early on in its life.

Finally, their CEO, Scaringe, just seems more grounded than Elon. While Rivian has yet to deliver, what he is promising seems achievable, which is a nice contrast to fully autonomous Elon.
 

zach90z

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I would say it is one thing to throw money at an idea or product and another to methodically secure required resources and not waste energy and time with the public and politics that comes with it.

Tesla is like a young energetic man, gets the job done even if it isn't perfect and can take a beating along the way.

Rivian is like the older version of Tesla in my opinion and it can't afford to take a beating and only has one shot.

Time will tell though, don't get me wrong I love what Tesla has done and probably without them Rivian my not exist.
 

Rob Stark

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Elon built several successful companies before taking over Tesla, acting as an Angel investor beforehand.

RJ went from academia to what is now Rivian. 9 years in stealth mode without any revenue to show for it yet.

It is way too early to suggest RJ is or will be a better automotive CEO than Elon that makes less mistakes.

And the factory in Normal Illinois is half the size of the Fremont factory.
 

Cosmacelf

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Elon built several successful companies before taking over Tesla, acting as an Angel investor beforehand.

RJ went from academia to what is now Rivian. 9 years in stealth mode without any revenue to show for it yet.

It is way too early to suggest RJ is or will be a better automotive CEO than Elon that makes less mistakes.

And the factory in Normal Illinois is half the size of the Fremont factory.
Quite right, RJ still has to prove himself. However, the design of the truck and SUV is a pretty good hint that so far his judgement is OK.

And yes, the Normal factory is smaller, but then Rivian's ambitions are at least half the size of Tesla's. They don't have ambitions (yet) to bring out a car for masses, their truck and SUV are too expensive for that.

The only problem that I can foresee (other than making management mistakes, not being to raise future funds, etc.) is that they might get serious competition from Tesla. Tesla is the only manufacturer that could seriously undercut them on price. But I don't see this happening for a number of reasons.

First, Tesla has its hands full bringing out the Model 3, Model Y, Semi, Roadster 2, and their pickup truck. The only vehicle that would compete head to head with Rivian will be their pickup truck that hasn't even been announced yet. Call me crazy, but the Rivian might appeal to more people than the Elon described cyberpunk, 'Blade Runner' truck.

Second, Tesla's mission isn't, actually, to crush all competition and be the dominant car maker. It is to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. Crushing a serious EV startup would go against that mission. Tesla isn't going to actively help Rivian, but they aren't going to go out of their way to hurt it either.
 

Rob Stark

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(other than making management mistakes, not being to raise future funds, etc.)
That is 90% of the battle.

Not designing a mainstream friendly vehicle.

Elon is a bit of a drama queen that loves or at least wants a lot of media attention.

We shall see what the pickup ends up functioning/looking like.

The Model 3 Duck Bill was toned down from concept to production due to feedback.

IF the feedback is overwhelmingly negative to the Tesla Pickup reveal I am sure Elon will pivot.

BTW I love the Rivian SUV design. I don't love the pickups short bed and lack of at least an optional 6.5' bed. If Tesla offers a standard 6.5' bed I am sure Tesla will sell at least 10x the number of R1Ts.
 
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