Rivian is considered one of the most promising new electric car makers since the launch of its first models a few months ago. The technology, which has been developed for several years, has brought the US startup this year fresh investments of over a billion dollars, including Ford and Amazon. In an interview with The Drive Founder RJ Scaringe spoke at length about the future of the auto industry and electric car technology.
The 36-year-old assumes that cars will no longer be bought in the medium to long term, but will be temporarily booked as a service. Rivian therefore focuses on offering vehicles with the greatest possible practical benefits for different applications. First, the company launches a pickup truck and SUV to be positioned as "adventure platforms".
According to Scaringe, the drive, which is housed in a "skateboard" architecture, and the high connectivity of the system make it possible for Rivian to offer a variety of vehicle types with different performance and equipment. Other brands should be able to acquire the technology. Further examples of possible mobility solutions will be presented in the coming months.
Rivian is well in excess of 600 kilometers range according to the US standard EPA in prospect, which should be further increased by additional battery packs. The planned vehicles should also allow energy to flow among each other. Scaringe is sure that the charging infrastructure will comfortably allow a wide range of action in the future. Even in remote regions, there will later be the opportunity to charge electric cars. Whether Rivian will participate in the construction of electricity filling stations, he said not.
With regard to the charging of electric cars, there is currently much misinformation, lamented Scaringe. Many manufacturers promise "ultra-fast" fast charging for upcoming models, according to the Rivian founder, but this is only possible to a limited extent. Although it is possible to optimize the charging systems, for example by cooling or charging strategies, the chemistry of the batteries remains a limiting factor.
"The speed at which you charge has a huge impact on batteries," said Scaringe. "To start we will be able to load 200 miles (about 322 km) in 30 minutes into the vehicle. Could we do it faster? Yes. Are we worried about a significant disintegration of the battery cell? Yes. "There will be more presentations in the next few years about how batteries will be recharged in 15 minutes, says the Rivian founder – but this procedure is not suitable for everyday use. "If you do that 30 times, then the battery is finished."
Battery development unpredictable
Rivian works closely with its cell partners but, like other manufacturers, uses existing technologies. How the performance of batteries will develop can not be predicted according to Scaringe. "Many people claim things that they can not do in reality," he said. Few would actually do "essential work," but would face the same limitations and loading times.
The focus of Rivian is on optimizing the overall system of his electric cars. In addition to the electronics architecture and the drive unit as well as various other components, this primarily includes the aerodynamics of the vehicles. The planned SUV R1S and the pickup truck R1T are very box-shaped, the latter is Scaringe but after "the most aerodynamic truck in the world". Various aspects would contribute to this – from the front over the lines and edges to the flat bottom and tires with low rolling resistance.
Scaringe also commented on Tesla. Rivian deliberately does not position itself directly against the electric car industry leader. Tesla has helped to make e-vehicles exciting and popular. Rivian and the world owe them "a thank you". Scaringe, however, sees a need for further, different offers. "The world needs more than a new electric forerunner in this industry," he said.