When Tesla went public in 2010, it got a market cap of $2bn after the first two days of trading. When RJ Scaringe’s Rivian debuted on Nasdaq, it was valued at a whopping $105bn after the first two days of trading. Three days later, its market cap had exceeded Volkswagen, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, and every auto giant you can name, except Tesla and Toyota, to become the world’s third most valuable automaker.
With jaw-dropping performance and eye-popping features, Rivian R1T is being hailed the ‘real deal.’ Let’s see how good this pickup truck is and how Rivian could give Tesla a run for its money!
A Cool Gear Tunnel
The Gear Tunnel is probably the quirkiest feature of the R1T. It’s essentially a giant cargo area that spans the entire width of the truck (yes, an entire 67 inches) behind the rear seats and in front of the bed. To open it, you just have to push a little button located on either side of the tailgate.
The tunnel has rubber on the bottom and is fully waterproof, which means you can throw anything – even the nastiest of your wet muddy gear – in it. This unique feature is basically something EVERY pickup truck lacks!
The Camp Kitchen
The Gear Tunnel does more than just store some random stuff. It has got electric outlets that come in handy with an amazing Rivian accessory – the Camp Kitchen. It’s a 2-burner stove that you can install on the gear tunnel door when it’s down and plug into the outlets inside the tunnel to cook food during your outdoor trips!
The Camp Kitchen has a full cookware set that includes practically everything you might need to cook and eat your food. From a three-piece nonstick cooking set and dishes to insulated mugs and flatware, a coffee grinder and water kettle to a towel bar and waste bag, it has got everything!
An Extendable Bed Floor
While some people prefer gigantic beds for maximum hauling capacity, others prefer smaller ones for better maneuverability. Maybe that’s why Rivian has tried to satisfy both.
The bed floor originally measures 54.1 inches but can be extended to 83.9 inches when the tailgate is down. The tailgate of the pickup has a gooseneck hinge system and can be opened/ closed with just the push of a button. The sides of the bed also offer household-style power outlets!
A Tonneau Cover
The R1T’s top Adventure trim and its Launch edition feature a cool cover called the Tonneau cover, that disappears and retracts back when you press a button on the bed rail!
It means you can get full access to your bed or can make it a fully-closed trunk for securing expensive stuff just by the press of a couple of buttons! The lower Explorer trim has a manual Tonneau cover.
An Under-Bed Storage
The R1T has gigantic under-bed storage with an optional spare tire that you can pop open by pulling a little latch on the left side of the bed. Accessing the spare tire here is much easier than having to dig one under the rear end!
In case, you are in need of every last bit of storage, you can just leave the tire at home and pack whatever you want under the bed floor to keep it dry and/or secured!
Frunks might be common in sports cars but you don’t get to see one in a pickup every other day! The R1T features a pretty decent space in the front, which is not just secure and weatherproof, but also extremely spacious.
The front trunk can pack as much stuff as you can fit in the trunk of a two-door coupe or a subcompact hatchback. The R1T’s bed might be smaller than the likes of Sierra or Tundra, but its frunk more than makes up for that.
A Gear Guard Security Cable
The Adventure and Launch editions come with a simple yet ingenious Gear Guard system comprising of a sturdy, cut-resistant guard cable security cable with metal locks on both sides of it.
You just need to pass the rope through your stuff and plug its ends into the plastic cutouts located just below the air compressor. When you lock the truck, the guard cable also gets locked – securing your stuff while you’re enjoying your hike on the trail.
A Gear Guard Camera
To double down on the security, you also have a Gear Guard camera that records everything that goes around in the bed of your truck.
If someone tries to unplug the Gear Guard cable wrapped around your stuff while the truck is locked, a cartoon will instantly appear on the interior screen to let them know they are being recorded on camera. Guess it’s enough to scare the rookies, though. You’ll also receive an alert on your Rivian app!
The Gear Tunnel Doors
The doors of the Gear Tunnel are as cool as the tunnel itself! Besides providing you access to the 67-inch unique storage compartment, they double as a step to reach the truck’s roof. If you think that’s the most these doors can do, you might be wrong.
You can also sit on the tunnel doors as long as you weigh under 250 pounds. But even that’s not the end of it! The doors also have 2 storage compartments – one of which contains a first-aid kit to keep you safe at all times! How cool is that?
The Gear Shuttle
If you’re not a fan of cooking and just want to use the Gear Tunnel for storage, you might want to get the optional Gear Shuttle that makes the entire thing much easier to access.
The shuttle can bear a load of up to 200 pounds and is made from a waterproof and corrosion-resistant material. It also has dual 120V AC and 12V DC plugs to enable you to quickly power all your adventure gear while you’re outdoor.
The R1T is an adventure vehicle meant for serious off-roaders. Maybe that’s why Rivian has gone overboard to provide surplus cargo storage with numerous securing mechanisms.
While the Gear Guard security cables protect your stuff from thieves, the heavy-duty cargo tie-downs, integrated into all four corners of the bed walls, firmly secure your luggage so that you can conquer even the most rugged of terrains. If that’s still not enough, you can get additional tie-down support from the four accessory ports on the bed rails.
A Set of Crossbars-Cum-Roof Rails
If you want crossbars over your bed to mount surfboards or bikes, the Rivian offers you an amazingly cool set of bars. And when we say amazingly cool – we mean it!
The crossbars are incredibly easy to lock and unlock over the bed. What’s amazing is that they can extend or retract in or out, allowing you to fit them on the roof as well! So, you get both your roof rails and bed crossbars in one accessory!
A Three-Person Tent
If you have a thing for camping in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to love this offering from the Rivian. The automaker offers an insanely cool 3-person tent that you can set up on your crossbars within just minutes.
Made of 3000mm waterproof PU coating, the tent can easily bear a load of 3 persons (600lbs) while being secured on the crossbars and has a 2.5-inch thick, wall-to-wall foam mattress. It keeps the insects out while maintaining ventilation (and the fun) inside.
An Onboard Air Compressor
Rivian’s integrated air compressor with a digital interface is a practical utility, particularly for those people who actually embark on off-road excursions.
You can easily inflate your tires once you’re off the rough terrains and are ready to hit the pavement. The inflator system comes with a long detachable line that can reach any of the tires you want to air up.
A Carabiner-Shaped Key Fob
If you think your Tesla Model 3 key fob is cool, just wait till you see the R1T’s. Shaped like a carabiner, it’s awesome, to say the least.
The key fob is one of the 4 ways to lock and unlock the car. The rest of the ways are pretty cool too. You can use a key card, a bracelet, or your smartphone (once it’s been connected with R1T) to automatically unlock or lock the car as you move towards or away from it.
A Flashlight Integrated in Door
Umbrella pockets in the doors are so out. What’s in? A flashlight integrated into the driver’s door! Yes, the R1T offers a built-in flashlight that can really come in handy during your weekend camping excursions!
Why spend a 6-figure amount to experience the Rolls’ door pocket thingy, when you can get the same (well, kind of same) with an all-electric TRUCK loaded with awesome features for just $74,000! And in case you’re wondering, the flashlight gets power from the Rivian battery.
A Portable Camp Speaker
If you love partying outdoors and you carry a speaker on your trips, you can stop doing that – because Rivian has heard you! The R1T comes with a Bluetooth-enabled portable speaker nicely packed within the center console of the cabin that you can take out anytime you want.
And not just packed, the speaker gets power in there to be fully juiced up for your next outdoor stop! It also has a USB-C port for charging your phone and an LED lantern feature to light up your campsite!
Lots of ‘Hidden’ Cabin Storage
The R1T keeps surprising you with all kinds of storage compartments, just when you think there can’t be any more of them. Besides the bed, frunk, under-bed storage, and the gear tunnel, you also get several storage compartments inside the cabin.
The most notable of these spaces is the deep center console storage and the ‘hidden’ storage compartments in the base of the front seats and the bottom of the rear seat cushions. Another amazing quirk is that you can access the gear tunnel by opening a lid located behind the center armrest of the rear seats.
A Wireless Mobile Charging Spot
Rivian has given plenty of unique little touches across the R1T to attract people – and they’ve really got our attention. These ‘little things’ can unconsciously affect people’s buying decisions to a great extent.
So, the next noteworthy little feature is this wireless mobile charging spot in the front center console. Just leave your smartphone there and you’re good to go!
The R1T has an amazing off-road performance, thanks to its quad-motor drive, which Rivian plans to use across its subsequent vehicles as well. It means all four wheels of the pickup get power from their own motor.
While the front two wheels make a combined output of 415 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, the rear axle delivers a higher 420 horsepower and 495 lb-ft of torque. With a combined output of more than 800 horses, no terrain is off-limits to this beast of a vehicle. Oh and this giant thing does 0-60 in 3 short seconds.
Rivian Adventure Network
Rivian plans to build a nationwide network of DC fast chargers – called the Rivian Adventure Network – to facilitate its customers. Exclusively for Rivian owners, these fast-charging points would add up to 140 miles of range in 20 minutes.
The Rivian Adventure Network will comprise more than 3,500 points at around 600 sites, connecting all major cities on popular routes across the US and Canada by the end of 2023.
Lots of Power Outlets
Rivian is all about practical utility. They know what adventure enthusiasts need and they have provided just that. The automaker has scattered four 120V and two 12V outlets across the R1T – in the frunk, bed, and Gear Tunnel.
Another noteworthy thing that we might have missed is the presence of emergency releases in all storage compartments – the bed, frunk, and Gear Tunnel – just so, you know, you don’t use your Rivian to kidnap someone.
A Whopping Range
The R1T is available with a 135-kWh battery pack that can provide a claimed range of 314 miles when paired with standard 21-inch wheels. It’s more than enough for a weekend trip with the family or an adventurous trail to the middle of nowhere.
However, Rivian makes it clear that the range will reduce when upgraded wheels are used. If you think the 300-mile range is not good enough for you, you can upgrade to a larger battery pack for $10,000 and get more than 400 miles of range.
Independent Air Suspension
Independent Air Suspension is R1T’s yet another great feature. It optimizes the vehicle’s ride height by allowing for a vertical adjustment of almost 7 inches, from a minimum of 8 inches to a maximum of 15 inches.
You can vary your ground clearance from the touch display for better stability, handling, and comfort depending on the terrain. Or you can just use automatic ride-height leveling to let the R1T balance itself as it sees best.
Towing and Payload Capacity
The R1T can haul a payload of up to 1,760 pounds and tow a trailer weighing more than 11,000 pounds. That sounds awesome but has a downside too.
Carrying or towing heavy loads can deplete the battery more quickly, giving you a shorter range, so you’d need to plan your trip accordingly.
Vegan Leather Seats
Rivian has tried to be as eco-friendly as possible while designing its vehicles – that’s basically the whole point behind the startup. From recycled materials all around the interior to using recyclable battery packs, the automaker has gone to great lengths to ensure that their vehicles have minimal to no impact on the environment.
Vegan leather is probably the coolest of all materials that Rivian has used in the interior. With perforated texture and patterned stitching, it looks really, really sick!
A Wall Charger
If you want to charge your Rivian at home, the company offers the installation of a Wall Charger in your garage or driveway. Weatherproof for outdoor use, Rivian Wall Charger is a fast and convenient way to charge your vehicle and is capable of adding up to 25 miles of range per hour.
Just connect the charger with your vehicle at night, and it will be ready for all kinds of adventures the next day. The best thing is, you can sync the charger with your Rivian app to remotely manage the charging sessions.
Multifunctional Touch Interface
Rivian’s multifunctional touch interface is probably the biggest attraction in its interior. You can use this large 16.0-inch display to control practically everything about your vehicle! From AC vents, to ride height, to drive mode, everything is just a touch away!
The coolest thing about this touch interface is that you can use it to open and close your vehicle doors, frunk, tonneu cover, gear tunnel (it can only be opened), just with a touch. The only area where it lags is the absence of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which is quite strange considering how multifunctional it is!
Every Rivian vehicle comes with a futuristic safety and driver-assistance suite called Driver+, which works by a vast collection of cameras, sensors, and radars spread across the vehicle.
Rivian Driver+ includes active safety features like collision mitigation, trailer assist, and preventative action as well as a hands-free driver-assistance technology that can help you with the manual driving tasks as and when you want.
Rivian’s Second Vehicle: The R1S SUV
Rivian’s second production vehicle, the R1S SUV, will be available from January 2022. It will cost less than its rival Tesla Model X, which happens to be the only all-electric 7-seater SUV available on the market right now.
The R1S has the exact same attributes as that of the R1T pickup – it has the same battery pack, same range, same interior, same driving modes, same touch controls, same everything, except that it’s a three-row SUV and not a pickup.
Rivian’s Third Vehicle: The EDV
The Rivian Electric Delivery Van is an upcoming all-electric commercial delivery van, that Rivian will be manufacturing as part of a massive fleet order from Amazon, we’re talking about a hundred thousand units here!
The Rivian EDVs will be released in three editions – EDV 500, EDV 700, and EDV 900, with sizes of 500, 700, and 900 cubic feet respectively. The range of EDV 900 will be around 120 miles (193 km), while the other two versions will be good for a haul of up to 150 miles (241 km).
How It All Started?
Rivian was founded by Florida native RJ Scaringe in 2009 as Avera Motors. Two years later, Scaringe rebranded the firm as Rivian Automotive to pay homage to the Indian River Lagoon located near his hometown of Melbourne.
For the next 7 years, Rivian remained in hibernation as it designed its range of vehicles until their first unveiling at the 2018 LA Auto Show. Since then, it has never been out of the spotlight again!
The Man Behind Rivian
RJ Scaringe did Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the famed Sloan Automotive Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was during his doctorate that he grew disillusioned with gas-powered cars. Scaringe believes our reliance on fossil fuels has reached ‘an inflection point’.
“The fossil fuels we use today were built up over the course of approximately 300 million years. We’ve used about half of that in 100 years. So, it’s not a debate as to whether we have to switch off our dependence on fossil fuels,” he said in a 2020 interview with the Lean Enterprise Institute.
Scaringe’s Uphill Journey
If you’re wondering why Rivian didn’t sell a single vehicle for 12 years since its inception, Scaringe has the answer. In his interview with the Lean Enterprise Institute, he revealed how difficult it’s to build an auto company from scratch.
He said entering the auto market requires thousands of engineers, hundreds of suppliers, and most importantly, billions of dollars. “I had none of those,” he said. “No team, no money, no plants, no suppliers, no facilities.” It was even challenging to convince people to invest in Electric Vehicles, especially for a pickup truck. While a booming EV market exists today, it “took some convincing” a decade ago.
Rivian Gets Investors
Scaringe’s hard work finally paid off when he started landing investors for his EV startup!!! The biggest names behind Rivian include Saudi conglomerate Abdul Latif Jameel, Cox Automotive, Amazon, and Ford. Amazon owns 20% of the company while Ford’s stake stands at 12%.
Amazon is also the biggest customer of the electric vehicle maker, having made an order of 100,000 Electric Delivery Vans, which Rivian will deliver by the end of 2025. The first 10,000 units are to be delivered by the end of 2022 though.
The Production Capacity
Rivian bought a 3.3 million SQFT auto manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois, for $16m in 2017. Previously owned by Mitsubishi, the Normal plant employs more than 2,200 workers and 1,000 robots, and will recruit an additional 800 workers in early 2022.
As for the production capacity, the electric automaker already has a backlog of 50,000 units and another 100,000 delivery vans ordered by Amazon. Though Rivian has delivered just a few hundred vehicles as of now, it plans to boost up production to 150,000 units per year by the end of 2023.
An Astronomical Growth
Rivian has been growing at an astronomical rate. The automaker had just 600 employees at the end of 2018. Fast forward to mid-2021, the number had increased to more than 7,000. And the next year, it would be an even bigger figure!
The company ‘is growing every week,’ a spokeswoman told Pantagraph. The growth isn’t just in employee strength, but also in market cap.
The Third Biggest Automaker
Rivian was valued at around $90 billion on November 10, 2021, in America’s largest IPO haul since Facebook went public in 2012. The valuation was far more than the company expected, but it was just the beginning.
Rivian stocks rose at a dramatic rate over the next few days, pushing its market capitalization to a whopping $146.3 billion behind just two automakers, Tesla at $1 trillion and Toyota at $255.5 billion. It means, Rivian is now the world’s third most valuable automaker and is ahead of legacy giants like Volkswagen, Daimler, Ford, and General Motors.
Scaringe is Already a Billionaire
The spike in Rivian’s market cap after its Nasdaq debut also added to the wealth of its CEO and founder. According to Forbes, RJ Scaringe’s net worth soared to $2.6 billion after the electric automaker was valued at $146.3 billion.
Scaringe has been compared to General Motors CEO Alfred Sloan and Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos. In fact, many experts believe that he could give a tough time to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Can Rivian Dethrone Tesla?
When Tesla went public in 2010, it got a market cap of around $2bn after the first two days of trading. Compared to that, RJ Scaringe was worth that much on his own after Rivian’s second day on Nasdaq – and his company was valued at a whopping $105bn, 50 times more than what Tesla managed in the first two days.
Tesla’s market capitalization could reach $90 billion in 2020. Rivian, on the other hand, is already the world’s third-biggest automaker by market cap. Amazon’s backing, in particular, has made the EV startup a compelling place to invest. Still, how Rivian fares with its $1tn rival depends on if it would be able to justify the valuation put on it by raising its output to what analysts call ‘unrealistic heights.’