Rivian has branded itself as a luxury electric vehicle-maker for outdoor enthusiasts, but auto industry analysts have recently seen another promising use for the company’s upcoming products: fleet vehicles.
The R1T has over 800 lb-ft of torque, nearly 1800 lbs of payload capacity, and the ability to tow around 11,000 lbs, making it a vehicle capable of serious work in nearly any industry currently utilizing trucks for business purposes in company fleets.
However, even Rivian’s largest battery pack, which boasts an impressive 400 miles of range, doesn’t quite meet the range expectations that truck customers expect from their gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. This particular customer base, of course, isn’t Rivian’s immediate target as it first enters the market, but the Michigan-based car maker is already piquing broad interest in its vehicles, and industry professionals are taking note.
Not every potential Rivian truck customer will see limited mileage as a reason to choose diesel-power over battery-electric power, as predicted by some auto experts assessing the company’s market appeal. Companies whose travel needs are limited to short trips to job sites, for example, could put things like torque, load capacity, and fuel savings higher on the list of priorities than range for commuting. These are areas where Rivian’s R1T shines.
“EV pickups may best be suited for commercial fleets, such as those owned by energy companies,” Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Autotrader, was quoted as saying by the Detroit Free Press (DFP). “Fleets operating in clearly defined areas, such as metro Detroit, could be ideal. Short distances and a good charging infrastructure might also make EV pickups practical for construction and mining companies.”
Pickup trucks make up the largest part of the vehicle market in the United States, accounting for nearly 3 million sales last year, meaning that a startup like Rivian has a lot to gain if it’s able to tap into the consumer base in a meaningful way. Amazon and Ford appear to have already seen the potential in Rivian’s electric skateboard platform via their combined $1.2 billion dollars investment in the company. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, recently commented about Rivian’s mission and voiced his support for the company.
“As with most of our major investments, and acquisitions, we’re always looking for mission-driven entrepreneurs — missionaries instead of mercenaries. And the guy who leads the company, a guy named R.J., is one of the most missionary entrepreneurs I’ve ever met,” Bezos said, referring to Rivian’s CEO R.J. Scaringe.
These kinds of positive assessments for all-electric trucks in the auto market would also carry over into Tesla’s future prospects as well for its truck. Admittedly, details surrounding the Blade Runner-inspired vehicle are sparse; however, CEO Elon Musk has mentioned possible stats that would offer incredible worksite capabilities. As teased, the Tesla Truck will have 400-500 miles of range per charge, dual motor AWD, a 240-volt connection for heavy-duty tools, and up to 300,000 pounds of towing capacity. The unveiling is said to take place later this year.
Both of Rivian’s vehicles – the R1T truck and the R1S SUV – are currently open for pre-order via the company’s website. Production and deliveries are anticipated to begin in 2020.
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