In the first article regarding the 2018 LA Auto Show, I mentioned an independent manufacturer under the name Rivian. Rivian is a Michigan, USA, based manufacturer with some big ideas that could stir up the EV market. Judging by their debut vehicles on this years edition of the show, they’re targeting both the working class hero with the R1T truck and the average consumer with the R1S, which is an SUV.
Under The Shell
At the core of both cleverly named models is a common platform that Rivian refers to as a skateboard platform. Just like the model names, the name behind the platform is self-explanatory.
The skateboard platform features a 180 kWh Li Ion battery pack under the passenger compartment. At each corner of the platform, Rivian placed an electric motor that outputs a steady 200 hp, which totals to 800 purebred horses and 10,325 lb-ft of torque.
Since this layout makes the R1T and R1S practically all-wheel drive, sophisticated torque vectoring controls the behavior of each motor independently. As a result, 0-60 time for both vehicles is 3 seconds, which is not that impressive. But the 11,000 pound pulling force is.
Executive Director of Engineering and Programs, Mark Vinnels notes: “The beauty and elegance of our quad-motor setup isn’t just about brute power. This architecture provides instantaneous torque with extremely precise control at each wheel, which is completely game-changing from a dynamics perspective both on- and off-road.”
Suspension wise, the platform rides on air at the front, while the rear end connects to the chassis via a multi-link setup. Advanced suspension control features dynamic roll control, with adjustable damping and ride height. This kind of suspension setup allows supreme adaptivity to any kind of terrain, no matter how smooth or rough it is.
Same Heart, Similar Skin
On the outside, the lifted bodies of the R1T and R1S have two major differences; the R1T is a truck, while the R1S is an SUV. The first word that comes to mind when I see the Rivian is big. And they are big. Both in reality and aesthetically.
The wide frontal area showcases an interesting daytime running light layout which looks RoboCopesque when the twin vertical “stadium” lights are off. The DRL also has a special feature; the middle section turns green when the battery is fully charged. I find this to be a nifty feature since you can see it from afar. Unlike the Jaguar I-Pace, the nose of the Rivian doesn’t have any prominent vents.
The side is where the similarities between the bodies end.
The Rivian R1S utilizes the long wheelbase to seat 7 passengers in it’s 3 row seat arrangement, while the Rivian R1T has a completely different plan with it’s large 350 liter lockable storage bed behind the 4 door cabin.
The R1T also features Rivian’s trademark GearTunnel storage compartment accessible from the side.
Lift up the hood and you have access to the unluckily named frunk. What’s not unlucky about it is that it has a storage capacity of 330 liters.
The wide rear light makes the two Rivian models look aggressive from the rear. Other than the chrome accent at the bottom and the thin rear light, the rear end remains elegant and smooth.
The Passenger Area
On the inside, except the differences in seating space, it’s the same between the two. As Rivian is all about sustainability, the theme is found in the interior as well.
Sustainably sourced wood gives out a refined and inviting vibe, while it’s also a structural element. The wood dash supports two LED screens; one for the cars vitals behind the leather steering wheel and the other for the infotainment.
Considering the fact that the ideology behind Rivian is “the ideal vehicle for active customers”, the use of wear resistant materials in high-use areas is completely logical.
Making the driving easy is the implementation of Level 3 self-driving system. The system is capable of performing the driving for you on the highway. There are also various cameras around the vehicles, as well as a high precision GPS, lidar and radar.
The Rivian Revolution
In a recent interview, Rivian CEO, RJ Scaringe, said : “I started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have – to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation. Starting with a clean sheet, we have spent years developing the technology to deliver the ideal vehicle for active customers.
This means having great driving dynamics on any surface on- or off-road, providing cargo solutions to easily storing any type of gear whether it’s a surf board or a fishing rod and, very importantly, being capable of driving long distances on a single charge. From the inside out, Rivian has developed its vehicles with adventurers at the core of every design and engineering decision.”
I appreciate their efforts put into production and design and I sincerely hope that one day, their innovative ideas will successfully come to life to combat major manufacturers.