It seems like an electric car startup surfaces every other day, but there's reason to take Rivian a bit more seriously than most.
Instead of making bold promises that end up being pushed back or completely fail, Rivian has been working diligently in the background on its electric car plans, which call for the introduction of a pickup and SUV around 2020.
The company already has a production site in the form of the old Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, and it has a couple of big name execs on its board of directors. One is Tom Gale, the designer of the original Dodge Viper, and another is Antony Sheriff, who helped launched McLaren Automotive, the road car business of the McLaren Technology Group. Rivian also lists former McLaren engineer Mark Vinnels as its head engineer.
The company isn't saying much about its planned vehicles, though we know the first two will be premium, lifestyle-oriented vehicles aimed at outdoorsy types. The pickup is expected to arrive first followed by the SUV. The pickup will feature two rows of seats while the SUV will come with three as standard, and both will ride on a modular platform developed in-house.
“We’re creating electric adventure vehicles that get you to the mountain and back on a single charge, that safely cross streams with your whole family, that carry enough gear for any trip, and let you enjoy the wilderness in silence,” Rivian says on its website.
Rivian also says that its vehicles will come with self-driving technology. The company says the vehicles should be capable of handling highway driving on their own at launch and will eventually be able to handle all situations without the need for a human onboard.
Rivian was founded in 2009 by RJ Scaringe, a graduate of MIT’s Sloan Automotive Laboratory. His original goal was to develop a fuel-efficient sports car, something that's been a lifelong dream for him.