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Amazon, GM in talks to invest in electric pickup truck maker Rivian: sources (reuters.com)
109 points by Element_ 34 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 94 comments



The only thing I really take issue with on this truck is that the spare tire is accessed through the top of the bed. There are two reasons you don't want to do this in a truck:

1.) The bed needs to be very strong because people routinely put weight on dunnage in the bed, and the door doesn't appear to be corrugated to withstand load.

2.) If you want to change your flat tire you need to unload everything in the bed, which will be a huge pain in the ass on the side of the road.

Otherwise thank god someone is actually trying to capture this market. I really want one of these and can't wait until they're closer to market.


> If you want to change your flat tire you need to unload everything in the bed, which will be a huge pain in the ass on the side of the road.

aren't you already supposed to unload your vehicle before you jack it up on one side? maybe it's different for "work vehicles", but my car comes with a puny little jack that's only strong enough to support the weight of the car when there are no people or heavy items inside. I suspect the hardpoint on the car itself isn't designed with much more headroom than the jack.


The hard point of the car is part of the frame on every vehicle I can recall. And I recall a lot, because back when I was a mechanic I had to find those points to get the car on the hydraulic lift. One had to be careful of rusty VW Beetles as unibody as kind of a new thing, and a lift could punch a hole through the floor of a rusted Beetle if one wasn’t careful.

Anyway, enough resume flouting. Yes, you should unload your truck before changing the tire. What if that 1000 lbs. is pea gravel? Still unloading it first, Dr. Safety First? If I had 1000 lbs. in the bed and I had a flat? I’d change it as is. It won’t be the smartest thing I do that week, and I am going to keep my hands out from breaking the vertical plane of the wheel well as much as possible. But I am confident that the solid point of the frame will hold it, and even the puny jack is likely stringer than it looks.

But in reality, if I had a load, I’d just call AAA or a mobile truck service. They carry really nice heavy-duty jacks. Flat tires are such a rarity these days, I’d roll the dice on paying someone $200 to change my tire.

In the end, if you’re that worried about it, do what we did when I was kid with our old ‘63 Chevy: throw the spare on top of the load when you’re done loading. Doesn’t fix the jacking problem, but at least the spare is accessible.


It depends on the load, the surface, the jack, and the overall situation. For sure, many of the spindly jacks that come with small cars could be an issue.

And remember, the jack is only lifting one corner (or side in some configurations), so it sin't the whole load.

Even if it's iffy, I can easily envision a situation where the load is not massive but is still bulky or inconvenient to remove, or impossible to do so without equipment.

So, yes, this feature would give me pause (maybe not a deal-breaker, but...) in contrast to an otherwise fantastic design. If you haven't yet, definitely check it out!


>aren't you already supposed to unload your vehicle before you jack it up on one side?

Eh, maybe?

You have to take the totality of circumstances into account. The jack (depending on the style, some are better than others) can probably take the weight in most circumstances. The vehicle can probably also tolerate the extra weight so long as it's not grossly overloaded or rusted. Whether you have any problems is going to depend more on the details of the location more than anything else.

You could go on Reddit and score a bunch of virtue points for saying nobody should ever jack up a vehicle in less than perfect circumstances but I think in the overwhelming majority of real world situations you do not need to unload the vehicle.


>you need to unload everything in the bed, which will be a huge pain in the ass on the side of the road.

Who says that’s even going to be possible? It sounds like a complete design flop to me.


One could always place the spare in the cabin for situations where it will be less accessible.

But yeah, major design problem.


That’s a bad idea in itself, but maybe a necessity. It’s a safety hazard to have big or heavy things that can turn into projectiles or blunt forces in a cabin during an accident.


Honda stores the spare in the in-bed trunk. But there's also a threaded insert in the front of the bed where you can attach the spare. Either because you needed all of the trunk room for tools/golf-bags, etc., or in case of getting a flat while you were hauling gravel and couldn't open the trunk.


What really annoys me is that the under-bed spare (or any "trunk in bed" type feature) makes having a proper drop in liner impossible. A drop in liner increases the durability of a pickup bed by an order of magnitude and is all but required for certain use cases if you don't want to tear up the bed in short order.


This is what the Honda Ridgeline does.


I think the reason the spare tire isn't more easily accessible is because of the importance of aerodynamics in electric vehicles (It can't just be bolted underneath or to the back). Also the CEO mentioned in an interview that the spare tire can be removed to gain a large water proof storage compartment under the bed.


> It can't just be bolted underneath or to the back

Why not just bolt it underneath and put a cover over it? The cover would weigh less than a couple of kilos and probably improve the vehicle's overall aerodynamics anyway.


If it's like lots of other EVs, the batteries go completely across the bottom of the vehicle for a low COG.


with regards to pickup trucks most spares are located behind the rear axle and current BEVs usually only have the battery pan between the axles.

So I put it down to a packaging issue. They had two choices and under the bed solution provided the extra benefit of being able to use that space for other purposes. Many newer vehicles do not carry spare tires and this trend has been accelerating as tire technology has improved greatly and road side assistance is common that people rarely if ever have to change a tire.


Yeah, this is probably why they went this route, and it makes a lot of sense. It's just strange to see it advertised as a design feature. Having it called out like that as if it's something I want in a truck was very jarring, like they didn't really understand what I would be using a truck for.


Yes, some people like you use their pickups for real work. For most American drivers, a pickup truck (or SUV) is just a fashion statement. They drive it around town with (an empty bed) instead of a Honda Civic.


It was fun watching car spares shift to mini-spares, and now many high-end cars don't have a spare.


In over forty years of driving I have had only one flat that wasn't just a slow leak. And the weather was so bad that I chose to slowly drive home, about fifteen miles, on the flat rather than change the wheel. The next day I drove another couple of miles to a tyre supply company and just had the tyre replaced.

Not sure if I would be so quick to do it in a modern car with alloy wheels and an even mass distribution but the car in question was a tough old Volvo Amazon with steel wheels and the flat was on a back wheel; in the Amazon most of the weight of the car is over the front wheels so the flat really didn't stress the wheel much.

That was about thirty five years ago.


How many flats you get depends on where you drive more than anything. If you're only ever driving on well maintained roads that are free of debris then you will almost never get flats. Also just because a leak is slow doesn't mean you don't need the spare. If you had needed to be somewhere the following day (e.g. work) you would have put on the spare.


weird things happen sometimes. two weeks ago, I got a razorblade embedded in one of my tires exactly parallel to the tread. I think it happened while I was parking. I came out of the store only twenty minutes later to find my tire at 0 psi.


> It can't just be bolted underneath or to the back

Well, if it is bolted under, it needs its own cover/plate, which increases the weight of the surrounding structure (since whatever's there can't be structural).


It doesn't need a cover/plate. Every full-size or mid-size truck I've owned hoists the spare underneath the bed without a cover. Tires are very durable, and if something impacts the tire it's probably destroyed your differential, brakes, and/or axle too so the spare isn't terribly useful.


The aerodynamics, what parent was talking about, were why I said there would need to be a cover.


I agree. But the R1S is exactly the electric vehicle Tata-Jaguar-Land-Rover should have built. If somebody said this was the new Range Rover Classic it would be exactly what I’d expect. Elevate the roof at the rear end and change the window styling for the 3rd row of seats and it would be a new Discovery.

Put the spare tire on the hood, extend the wheelbase, and call it a Defender.


I'm surprised it even has a spare. Really surprised.


Why? To me this truck is like the Mercedes G Class, it isn't meant to be practical or realistic. It's a status symbol meant to perpetuate an image. It has to meet all of the expectations one would have of a pickup truck even though it will never be used like one.


I would use the shit out of this thing as a pickup truck. It meets all my needs for something I can drive to a trailhead fully loaded with other hikers.


And it meets all of my needs hauling stuff around on less-than-ideal road conditions (or no road at all). It's expensive and fancy-looking, but it still looks to be quite usable.

My issues with it boil down more to the exclusively-touchscreen interface (it's the exact opposite of what I want to use while driving) and the high pricetag compared to, say, a Tacoma.


Price is really the sticking point as far as I can tell. They're pricing a little over 2x what most people spend on trucks and I wouldn't at all be surprised if that price went up another 50% before it's actually for sale.

It's going to be limited audience at first, unless batteries come down in price significantly. So I can understand all the design decisions to appeal to a high end market but ... idk.

I definitely agree with you about the touch interfaces. The Model 3 needs more buttons.


I'm not saying there isn't a market for electric trucks, I'm just saying that few people are in the market for an electric pickup truck in the $100k+ price range for off-roading.

Judging by the specs on these things, I'd honestly be surprised if they could produce these for less than $125k.


Apparently the target starting price (for baseline) is at the mid-80k range for the large battery model and closer to 60k for the medium and small battery models: https://www.motortrend.com/news/2020-rivian-r1t-ev-first-loo...

That might very well be ambitious, though, and even if they do meet those targets, that's still considerably more expensive than a Tacoma.


I would really be surprised if they could meet that price point without making serious compromises in other areas. The battery pack cost alone is going to be a large percentage of total cost.


I really hope Rivian makes it. They seem to have the right idea working from the top of the market down like Tesla. They could probably survive on only high-end low volume sales for quite a while. I hope Tesla gives them time and room to grow before introducing their own truck.

Also - There was a video with Sandy Munro on it and he couldn't talk about Rivian so he's either working with them or someone who wants to invest in them. So it seems like they are getting the right brains working on their problems.

Edit - this video, which is very interesting - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVnRQRdePp4


Why do auto makers seem to be so against working with Tesla to bring electric vehicles to market?

Now that I think about it, it seems like most car companies are trying to do the electric thing on their own, and if they do ask for help it’s from somebody that’s sort of out of their industry and not a direct competitor (yet).

This is in contrast with for example how Mazda is working with Toyota on hybrid drive, and how GM used to work with Toyota on hybrid drive.

Or is it Tesla that is ‘anti-cooperation’ with industry leaders? I was under the impression that it was teslas goal to make electric cars more common, not necessarily Tesla cars were common. I’ve never properly researched this, but I’ve always wondered why a business model for them isn’t to just provide the skateboard platform for other companies to build upon...


It's likely that Amazon and GM want far more control in the car manufacturing process than someone like Elon Musk would be willing to give. So it's not so much why Amazon and GM aren't willing, but that Musk isn't. Rivian makes superb trucks, but it's incredibly small right now and not likely to last a long time without some kind of deep-pocket investment... especially considering its business strategy is as much an electric vehicle platform as it as a 'traditional' electric automobile manufacturer... that last bit is probably super enticing for a company like Amazon.


> Rivian makes superb trucks

I want EV makers to succeed, but these vehicles haven't even launched yet (won't until 2020), so how can you say that? We'll know what kind of truck they really are once the general public gets their hands on them.


Not parent, but we can make judgements on the specs alone - 180 kWh battery, 400+ mile-range, one motor per wheel (with possibility of left and right wheels going in opposite directions - they could theoretically reduce turning radius to almost 0 like a forklift or tank). That sounds superb to me.


> we can make judgements on the specs alone

Can we? The vehicles we've seen are concepts. We know nothing of the build quality, reliability, safety, or a multitude of other characteristics of a mass-production version of these vehicles. A hand-built concept vehicle built in extremely low volumes for press outings (what they have now) would be expected to be impressive, but the real test is whether all of those wonderful specs make it to mass production in a safe, reliable, high-build-quality package (...that doesn't bankrupt the company in the process).

The automotive industry is littered with the corpses of companies who touted killer concepts w/ insane specs but couldn't make it happen, or did, and the production vehicle was but a shadow of the concept. Tesla is amazing in that it didn't become one of these companies. That Rivian can mass produce these vehicles to the touted specs for the given prices should not be assumed, and to look at a few concept vehicles and company-provided specs and say "Rivian makes superb trucks" brings to mind George W Bush's premature "Mission Accomplished" banner from way back when. I hope for their success, but they're pretty far from the finish line right now, and getting there will be a real challenge; just ask Elon Musk.


> Can we?

Absolutely! The norm in a lot of industries is to judge on projected figures (electronics, CPU, GPU, automotive, aerospace, mining, etc).

> We know nothing of the build quality, reliability, safety, or a multitude of other characteristics of a mass-production version of these vehicles.

"Superb" is subjective - I could say a 1965 Porsche 911 is a superb car, even though it compares terribly with a 2018 Toyota Corolla on build quality, reliability, safety or a number of other features.


The norm in the industries you quoted is certainly not to judge the quality of the product before it exists. I don't recall Anantech or GamePro (RIP) or Motor Trend ever reviewing a product based on conceptual specs and concluding something like "Yep, excellent work, says it has a powerful V8 and a 6-speed but gets 60mpg- awesome, we're done here boys!". If we could just compare vehicle spec sheets, there would be no need for automotive journalists to drive the cars or do long-term reliability surveys. We'll see how it goes for Rivian, but to say "Rivian makes superb trucks" when they haven't made a single street-legal vehicle yet is a hell of a jump.

Re: your Porsche comment, I'm not sure what you're getting at. You could indeed say a 1965 Porsche 911 is a superb car, because 1. it actually exists in production form and 2. the public (and automotive journalists) have had the chance to drive and judge it for themselves. Not so for Rivian, which again, has yet to produce anything but concept cars. If you're comparing a 1965 911 against a 2018 Corolla, you're just being silly. Vehicles are compared to other vehicles in the time in which they were introduced. No reasonable person is judging a 1965 vehicle by 2018 standards.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to seeing what the production version of these trucks look like. It sounds like they've got some heavy hitter investors on board so hopefully that translates into a solid final product that delivers on the claims they've made.


> I’ve always wondered why a business model for them isn’t to just provide the skateboard platform for other companies to build upon

Volkswagen beat them to it. Volkswagen has developed their MEB electric car platform which they will use across their VW, Audi, SEAT, and Skoda brands:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Group_MEB_platform

https://jalopnik.com/the-fascinating-engineering-behind-vws-...

VW is also open to licensing the platform to other manufacturers. Ford is thinking about using the MEB platform for their EVs:

https://jalopnik.com/volkswagen-wants-other-automakers-to-us...


Porsche/Audi will need a small redesign after tearing apart a model 3.

https://electrek.co/2019/02/09/tesla-model-3-cost-surprise-p...


Tesla had a joint venture with Toyota years ago. They were making the drivetrain for the RAV4 EV. Toyota offered to provide the same kind of training in assembly methods to Tesla that they once provided to GM in the very same place (Tesla's factory is the former GM/Toyota NUMMI factory), but reportedly Tesla clashed with Toyota's engineers and management, so the whole partnership dissolved. I don't think anyone wants to work with them now.


Huh. The other version of the story is that Toyota refused to accept "one pedal" driving, which by all reports is a huge success.


No idea if that was the reason but you are correct, one pedal driving works very well and is very intuitive in my 2015 Tesla S 70D.

One of the best things about the Tesla cars is not the drive train but the UI; by which I mean the pedals, Autosteer, traffic aware cruise control, as well as the dash. The UI is much less cluttered than most other cars; compare the S and the I-Pace for instance, the I-Pace has loads of buttons and knobs and two screens in addition to the instrument cluster.

After a year of driving the Model S I have concluded that my reasons for buying the car were the wrong ones (electric drive train mostly), the reason for keeping it is that the S is simply better to drive because of one pedal driving, TACC, and Autosteer. Most of those features could be added to any car with automatic transmission. Certainly Mercedes could do it and in their top of the range cars already do some of it.


Toyota also made its big platform bet on mild hybrids and hydrogen, which Elon rightly scoffed at. No doubt there was big culture friction.


Agree with your hydrogen point, but curious to know a bit more about your mild hybrid reference. AFAIK Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive was the best in class parallel hybrid system. In fact, many hybrids on the market, such as the Fusion Hybrid, were licensed HSD from Toyota.

Honda now has a more advanced 2-motor series hybrid system, similar to the Volt, but both systems are a lot more complex (expensive) than the brilliantly simple way HSD combines power from the motor and engine.

Additionally, the hybrid bet paid off handsomely for Toyota.


And the Toyota Prius is reckoned to be the cheapest car to own and maintain:

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/02/most-and-le...

https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/the-most-and-least-expe...

I'd say any scoffing was misguided.


Both Toyota and Mercedes sought Tesla's help with EVs for their California "compliance" vehicles: both the RAV4 EV and the Mercedes B-class EV had a Tesla frame, motors, batteries, and drive controller underneath. I don't know about the MB but the Toyota was rumored to cost roughly 2x the list price. In 2014, after Toyota made roughly 2000 of them (the minimum required by law) they stopped.

You can read about the common problems on the forums; lots of the same problems Teslas had in the time period (i.e. loss of all propulsion while driving, loud motor noises followed by eventual motor failure, etc) in addition to software problems bridging the two companies' systems.

All solvable but I'm sure Tesla prefers selling $100k cars better than selling $15k generic skateboards.


I thought the MB B-class EV had Tesla motors but their own battery tech. MB has made huge investments in battery factories.

https://electrek.co/2018/10/08/mercedes-benz-breaks-ground-b...


Isn't the B-class that Tesla was involved with the one that was discontinued (in 2017) after selling fewer than 4,000 cars? http://www.thedrive.com/sheetmetal/13097/mercedes-benz-disco...


The Rav4 and B-class had much better performance and range than the cars we usually call "compliance cars".


Mazda and GM (and Nissan, and probably a few others) work with Toyota on hybrid drive because of the wonderful CVT Toyota designed. It's really light years ahead of what the competition had at the time. Everybody has licensed it because it's patented, and demonstrably better than alternatives.


Well it's a question of ego. 2 parts:

1. If GM were to - like you say - "work with Tesla", who would be in charge of what to do, when and how? GM would want GM cronies to do that. It would be like Apple after they fired Steve Jobs 2. Even if TSLA would be in the driver's seat (pun intended) who would be working for whom? TSLA is already as big as GM in terms of market cap, and with better future, but in a TSLA-GM JV GM would want to be "da boss".

Things are fine the way they are GM, F, FCAU will either die, consolidate or become irrelevant; and the new TSLA-like companies will be the new "energy and transportation" players.

Clayton M. Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma is still valid.


The Fully Charged YouTube channel did a great piece of this car:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMfxJEfb4lw

If you're interested in electric cars then it's well worth a subscribe.


Wow great video! I had ZERO idea this company existed and I’m on my 2nd EV...this is awesome


The YouTube channel is even better if you're a Red Dwarf fan. Robert is amazing!


Yes, they do very informative reviews of basically any electric car you can name. They are self admitted EV fan boys of course but their reviews are interesting nonetheless. I've been subscribed for half a year or so and they seem to have good relations with a lot of manufacturers. E.g. they got an early test ride in a prototype VW e-golf recently. Also worth checking out their video on the electric land rover, similar to the Rivian product. It looks like electrical vehicles are going to be seriously competitive for off road stuff.

The Rivian product is extremely ambitious. The challenge for such a company is not going to be sales or marketing (like Teslas, these things should sell themselves) but the capital investments needed to go from the early product prototype stage to having the production capability to scale the business and serve their market. This investment makes a lot of sense for GM as they are essentially pretty far done with dismantling their combustion engine business and are now trying to ramp up their fully electric vehicle business as fast as they can before it is too late.

For those not familiar, the Rivian truck has tons of very practical features. Here's what I remember:

- Waterproof battery. This car can basically drive through a river without issues. The battery and engines can operate while fully submerged. The main challenge is stopping the car from floating or stopping the interior from flooding. When I was watching the review, I couldn't help wondering .... why not put a rudder and propeller on it already?!

-Individually operating engines on each wheel and they can even spin in opposite direction.

- Enormous torque. This car can pull enormously heavy loads. This is a big bonus since that is a common usecase for trucks like this.

- Huge amount of battery and a projected range of more than 400 miles.

- Tons of practical space, including front trunk, a storage space accessible with doors on both sides behind the cabin that you pull down that you can stand on to access e.g. the roof or sit on.

- A flashlight using one of the battery cylinders that they use internally as well that pops out of the door. Naturally, if you pop it back in it charges. This is a bit of a gimmick, but a clever one and it sounds super practical to always have a fully charged flashlight handy.

There was lots more but these were things that stood out to me. It seems like this should tick a lot of boxes for people interested in buying any kind of truck. Of course it remains to be seen if it lives up to expectations in terms of build quality, production volume, etc. But it looks like they are getting ready to ship in just a few years.

I don't actually own a car and doubt I ever will (I rent when I need one, which is a few times per year) but this one seems cool to me.


This is great, but I also want Amazon to build a high speed rail network across the country. I think they're trying to build their own airline, at least for package logistics but they can't get planes fast enough. They could probably build rail much faster in certain areas and they could use it for people and order logistics.


> They could probably build rail much faster in certain areas and they could use it for people and order logistics.

You're not alone in this, but why do you think passenger rail makes any sense in the U.S? As far as I can tell, it makes very little. People's big plans for rail in the U.S. tend to rely on some major change in one or more factors of feasibility, and people justify these plans by calling that or those factors "trivial, with political will!"; I find it unconvincing.


Well, I don't think high speed passenger rail makes a lot of sense on its own. But, it might make sense along with high speed delivery trains, especially on certain routes:

West Coast: (Seattle?), SF, LA, SD

Midwest: Twin Cities, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit

Northeast: NY, Philly, DC

Southeast: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami

Yes, flying is faster and maybe even cheaper. But, the experience of flying is awful and getting worse. If it's between 3 hours in airports, security and an airplane or 4 hours on high speed rail where I can put my feet up, catch a nap in an actual bed, use my cellphone and wifi, collaborate with colleagues, eat good food, etc... I'd take the train every time. Hell, on the Toronto/Ottawa route, flying is cheaper and there's no high speed rail, but many business travelers still choose slow rail because the experience is so much better. Make it a little more competitive in travel time, and it starts to become very attractive.

Business travelers aren't as price sensitive, and if they can make good use of the time working or resting then it can easily be justified.


I love your positivity, and agree with your overall premise, but let's not get too carried away:

> catch a nap in an actual bed, use my cellphone and wifi, collaborate with colleagues, eat good food

* Can you recommend a fast train service with affordable sleeper cars; I'm not aware of one? * Mobile phones frequently drop signal moving between cells on fast trains, as anyone trying to stay connected to a meeting will have experienced * My experience of train wifi (at least, in France, UK, Germany, Switzerland) is that it's also patchy and unreliable (does it rely on the same patchy mobile networks?) * Almost without exception, the food I've experienced on trains is very similar to that available on budget airlines - plastic-packed ready-made soups, noodles, sandwiches, etc.

Socially and environmentally, though, it's far more pleasant on a train. :)


Along those routes though you’re talking 3hrs max in the air, vs like 6 in a direct hs rail train with no stops. I’d love to ride a train mind you, ESPECIALLY to get around within metro areas or between close ones (sea to Portland is more time in security and preflight than time in the air). But the long distance ones seem like it’d only make sense along the eastern seaboard


Sure, but it's rather unfair to compare time in the air to time from city to city. In the best case (comparing airport entrance to airport exit with TSA PreCheck and no check-in baggage) Detroit to Chicago would take just over 2 hours. In a more reasonable case, considering most people want to end up closer to the city center than the airport, may have check-in bags, and may not be eligible for PreCheck, the train would be noticeably faster and likely more convenient.


SF to SD is 3.5 hrs using Eurostar speeds (not inclusive of Channel Tunnel slowdown). I'm an opponent of CA HSR (on the grounds that America isn't capable of the project management) but I think the technology isn't out of reach.


There are some areas in the US where passenger rail would make sense. For example in the northeast corridor (Boston–Washington). That could get similar treatment to the Tokaido Shinkansen line.


Plenty of recent car startups have raised giant sums like Lucid, Karma, Faraday Future etc. , but none of them have produced a viable car yet. Hope Rivian does better, but car manufacturing is HARD


I've been an electric car naysayer for some time. I just don't think the price to value is there. However, with proper towing and payload, these could have a large impact on the job-site truck market. It's common to have to travel > 60 miles each way for construction type jobs, and this much range would fit the bill.

Bed just needs to be longer. At $61k and about $25k (roughly) in fuel savings over an F250 diesel over 250k miles, this could potentially be a huge win.


I saw this vehicle at the LA Auto Show and was able to speak to a team member prior to the general doors opening for a little while. Really cool technology at play here and it sounds like they have their shit together a lot more than Tesla.

The fact that they take advantage of the individual motors to steer the vehicle without turning the wheels is pretty cool. It can rotate in-place similar to a tank.


> it sounds like they have their shit together a lot more than Tesla.

Is that really a meaningful comparison considering the tremendous difference in scale? They probably won't have their shit together when they have to deliver thousands of vehicles per week.


Tesla also struggles with this, and I think it's because of their direct model. If Rivian uses dealers they should have an easier time in theory.

It strikes me that Rivian is combining the advantages of electric vehicles with the advantages of auto industry know-how, instead of independent hubris.


Lots of people have theories as to what Tesla's problems are, but you'd be hard-pressed to find many Tesla owners who think they'd be better off with a dealer. I can name several things Tesla ought to do better, and none of them have anything to do with dealers.


Parts supply logistics and repair times wouldn't improve with dealers?


If Tesla can't supply enough parts introducing a dealer layer won't make the parts magically appear.

It would add more overhead to the transaction and if history is any indicator, sleazy interactions and business practices thrown in as well.

I'm fairly confident once the dust settles Tesla owners will be happy to not have auto dealers in their lives. There's just a teething period while Tesla ramps up to a mature manufacturer at scale.


As a data point, Tesla isn't very good at delivering body parts to independent body shops. I don't see why dealers would be any more successful at nagging them.

I also suspect it's a lot easier for Tesla to fix their parts problem than it is for dealers to stop being smarmy.


No, it would simply add another layer of annoyance, indirection, and excuses to an already fraught situation.


Delivering thousands of vehicles per week could be where GM's experience becomes helpful.


Is GM getting involved or just investing?


Some analysts believe they will help on the production side too since they don't have an EV Pickup in the next 3 years of road map. Each side might learn something from sharing their expertise. Apparently Amazon is interested from a delivery vehicle standpoint. It's probably not that useful as a pickup truck, but it could be a good platform to build a proper delivery vehicle on.


Is that for all steering? That sounds like a tremendous waste of tires.


When you are not on pavement it makes sense. The vehicle steers like a normal truck most of the time but has the ability to steer in place if necessary. Sand, snow, gravel etc...


Makes sense. My intial reading left me thinking it ONLY used differential wheel speed to steer.


Ah yes, talking to one employee about a car no one's driven definitely makes their company 'have their shit together' more so than a company pumping out 6k+ vehicles a week of some of the highest rated cars of all time.


Looks like a great truck, but the entirely-touchscreen interface makes it a non-starter for me.

I'm still holding out for the Bollinger B1 (and hoping it won't be terribly bank-breaking).


This is interesting, so now Rivian is worth between 1 and 2 billion, while TSLA is worth "only" 53; makes TSLA look undervalued.


Tesla kind of is for what it has pulled off with the Model 3. Either Tesla is undervalued or Rivian is overvalued.


Tesla had a very similar valuation at the same stage of their company.


Why would an electric pickup truck sell well? Needing to use a pickup truck isn't correlated with caring about electric cars. No one wants to try to find a gas station with an electric car charger in the middle of the countryside, where most people who actually need a pickup truck live. This doesn't pass my sanity check.


You're conflating need with desire... and you're also wrong.

Not everyone who drives a pickup needs a pickup. That's pretty apparent by the fact that the F-150 is the highest selling vehicle in the US while less than 20% of Americans live in rural areas. Plenty of people buy pickup trucks and also live in the city. Even living in the countryside, most people in rural areas don't need (or even own) pickup trucks.

And pickup trucks aren't just useful for farm work. I'd wager that most of the pickup trucks sold in the US are for commercial use. Plumbers, construction workers, contractors, lawn care/snowplows. These people tend to live and work in cities, and they buy pickup trucks. And what's important for a truck? Torque. What do electric motors have? Lots of torque. For businesses buying pickup trucks for work, they don't need range or lots of chargers. They just need to get to the job site, park, then go back to the office at the end of the day to charge it.

That's also ignoring the millions of people who buy pickup trucks as daily commuter vehicles, who have the normal daily commute of 20 miles. Well within the range of even the worst electric car in the US. Pickup trucks are a status symbol for these people, not a work vehicle. An electric pickup is an even greater status symbol.


> Plumbers, construction workers, contractors, lawn care/snowplows.

You say an electric pickup truck is a great status symbol, but I doubt it is to the majority of people in those professions you just mentioned. The people who view pickup trucks as a status symbol want massive and loud ones. Electric cars are very light, and very quiet.


>The people who view pickup trucks as a status symbol want massive and loud ones.

Sometimes, but not always. The F-150 Platinum is neither massive nor loud but it costs $60,000. The base price of an F-150 is around $28,000, so the Platinum is status symbol of wealth and comfort.

If the F-150 can be used both by construction workers looking for something basic and cheap as well as rich people looking for a luxury car, I don't see that changing just because you swapped the V6 for an electric motor.


Bring this down to el camino style (or ute if you prefer) and I'm game. I've long been after a "city" truck. This thing is still too big for me. However, give me a car frame with a bed so I can make runs to the hardware store and/or haul trash and yard waste and I'm in.


It won't be right for everyone, but if you aren't driving more than a couple hundred miles in a day, being able to charge it at night vs driving a long ways to the one overpriced rural gas station sounds pretty appealing to me.

Also there's better torque for towing and lower maintenance.




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