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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Rivian R1T Pickup Has A 400 Mile Range and Tows Up To 11,000 Pounds

      Can hit 60 mph in three seconds


    Stop me if you have heard this before; Rivian, a start-up electric automaker is planning to reinvent the various vehicle segments it plans to enter. But unlike most start-ups, Rivian hasn't dropped any sort of vaporware in the form of concepts or teasers. Instead, the company has been quietly working on a production-ready model that will be debuting later this week at the LA Auto Show.

    This is the R1T, a futuristic-looking electric pickup truck. The front end features a unibrow-like central light bar (acts a charging meter by changing green when the truck is plugged) and a set of oval headlights. The back also uses a unibrow-like light bar that wraps around the tailgate. At least the side profile is similar to other pickup designs. Overall dimensions of 215.6 inches for length, 79.3 inches for width, and a 135.8-inch wheelbase place the R1T right in the middle of midsize and full-size pickups. The interior looks futuristic with large screens handling the instrument cluster and infotainment system, and minimal switchgear. But there is also some interesting choices for materials with real wood and cleanable activewear-style fabrics.

    What makes the R1T unique is its skateboard platform. Similar to the skateboard platform GM showed with a fuel-cell concept in 2002, Rivian's platform is made out of aluminum and high-strength steels. It includes the battery pack, electric motors, brakes, suspension, and advanced thermal-management system.

    Rivian will offer three battery packs for the R1T:

    • 105-kWh: 402 horsepower, and 413 lb-ft of torque, range of 230+ miles
    • 135-kWh: 754 horsepower, and 826 lb-ft of torque, range of 300+ miles
    • 180-kWh: 700 horsepower, and 826 lb-ft of torque, range of 400+ miles

    Rivian claims the R1T will get 80 percent charge in just 15 minutes when using a DC fast charger and a full charge in eight hours using a Level 2 charger.

    No matter which battery pack you decide on, the R1T's capability is the same - maximum payload of 1764 pounds and max towing of 11,000 pounds.

    For the suspension, the R1T is fitted with an unequal-length double-wishbone suspension setup in the front and a multilink setup in the rear. This will help if you decide to take the truck off-road. Also part of the suspension package is adaptive dampers and adjustable air suspension.

    Like most start-up automakers, Rivian is promising the R1T will have Level 3 autonomous technology as standard.

    Rivian says the R1T will begin at $61,500 after Federal Tax credit - likely putting the base at just under $70,000. Production is expected to begin in late 2020 at a plant in Normal, Illinois - the former Mitsubishi plant. We'll be watching to see if Rivian can pull it off.

    Gallery: Rivian R1T Pickup

    Source: Rivian


    RIVIAN LAUNCHES WORLD’S FIRST ELECTRIC ADVENTURE VEHICLES WITH DEBUT OF R1T PICKUP

    Los Angeles, CA, November 26, 2018 – Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer, has released information about the first of its two Electric Adventure Vehicles™ the R1T™, an all-electric, 5-passenger pickup. The automaker will introduce its fully electric SUV – the R1S™ along with the R1T to the public on Nov. 27, at AutoMobility LA.

    The highly anticipated truck features a range of up to 400+ miles, a wading depth of 1 meter, and the performance and precise control of quad-motor AWD and has been developed to help customers get out and explore the world. The R1T and R1S will be produced at Rivian’s manufacturing plant in Normal Il, from late 2020.

    “We’re launching Rivian with two vehicles that reimagine the pickup and SUV segments,” said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. “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 store 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. The R1T and R1S are the result of all this work and we are excited to finally introduce these products to the world.”

    Skateboard Platform
    The foundation of the R1T and R1S is Rivian’s skateboard platform, which efficiently packages the battery pack, drive units, suspension, braking and thermal system all below the height of the wheel, leaving the space above for occupants and their gear.

    Beyond the packaging benefits, this architecture delivers a low center of gravity that supports the vehicle’s agility and stability. Adding to these inertial advantages is a sophisticated suspension architecture with unequal length double wishbone suspension in the front and a multi-link suspension in the rear. The suspension features dynamic roll control and adaptive dampers along with ride-height adjustable air-suspension – allowing the suspension to be adjusted for highway comfort, on-road performance or off-road capability.

    Rivian’s vehicles also feature a quad-motor system that delivers 147kW with precise torque control to each wheel, enabling active torque vectoring and maximum performance in every situation, from high-speed cornering to low-speed rock crawling. With 3,500 Nm of grounded torque per wheel (14,000 Nm of torque for the full vehicle), the R1T can reach 60 mph in 3 seconds and 100 mph in less than 7 seconds. This powertrain and chassis also enable the R1T’s tow rating of 11,000 pounds.

    “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,” said Executive Director of Engineering and Programs Mark Vinnels.

    Design
    Exterior

    Rivian’s vehicles have been designed to communicate strength and refinement while still inviting customers to get them dirty. Strong proportions and clean, continuous bodylines help the vehicles achieve a modern, inviting stance while acknowledging the performance and level of technology integrated into the vehicle.

    The main bodyline of the R1T wraps up and around the cab and gives the vehicle a distinctive silhouette, while highlighting the Gear Tunnel™ cutline and accentuating the rear fender flares. The R1T features short overhangs, high ground clearance and aggressive approach and departure angles for a confident and rugged stance, all enabled by Rivian’s unique skateboard platform. A Rivian will be quickly recognized, with its iconic, signature “stadium” headlights and a daytime running light that extends the entire width of the vehicle.

    Interior 
    In harmony with the exterior, the interior of Rivian’s vehicles welcomes occupants into a premium environment that conveys craftsmanship yet invites rugged, daily use. Color and materials play an important role in differentiating Rivian vehicles. Sustainably sourced wood is used throughout the interior and its natural finish contributes to a warm and inviting feel. The most striking use of wood is as a structural element in the dash that integrates the main center display and driver cluster, integrating form and function beautifully. In the high-wear areas of the interior, the materials take inspiration from sportswear and active gear, combining durable and innovative materials that can easily be cleaned.

    “Although the exterior of the vehicle is what first attracts you, the interior is where you spend the most of your time, so we really focused on creating a transformational space,” said VP of Vehicle Design Jeff Hammoud. “The biggest challenge was creating an interior design that delivered a premium experience, while still being comfortable as a space that is heavily used. To do this, we looked outside the automotive industry and took inspiration from contemporary furniture, as well as hiking and outdoor gear, to drive the design.”

    R1tSpecifications.png

    Vehicle Specifications*
    Utility

    The R1T leverages the vehicle architecture to deliver more lockable storage than any other pickup in the world. The 330-liter front trunk is easily accessed for daily use with the hood fully powered for opening and closing.

    The R1T’s lockable Gear Tunnel sits below the cab, and extends across the width of the vehicle, providing more than 350 liters of space for hauling oversized gear, such as snowboards, golf bags or strollers. The Gear Tunnel doors also act as steps for loading items into the bed or onto the roof, as well as a seat and a convenience platform for such as lacing up hiking boots. The R1T has a watertight, integrated tonneau cover and beneath the bed floor is a 200-liter sealed bin that can also be used to store a full-size spare tire. The bed features three 110-volt outlets and integrated compressed air.

    As part of a Gear Guard™ feature, the bed also has two integrated locking cables to safely secure bicycle frames and other gear to the bed. Any gear stored in the bed is monitored by a bed camera and the system alerts owners should the bed or contents be tampered with.

    Rivian has developed a telescoping racking system with easy-to-use mounts that quickly attach to the roof as well as the bed rails and bed floor. The racks integrate with a range of accessories including tents, travel containers and bike/ski racks. When not in use, the racks can be easily stored in the front trunk.

    Battery System
    Rivian’s energy-dense battery module and pack were developed with the most demanding journeys in mind — incorporating tough underbody protection and an advanced cooling system to give occupants the confidence to go further, regardless of terrain or temperature. Adaptive control algorithms learn driver behavior, optimizing user-specific battery management for maximizing battery life, reliability and second-life reusability. Three battery sizes are planned, with the 180 kWh and 135 kWh available at launch and a 105 kWh being made available within six months.

    The battery is designed for fast charging with charging rates of up to 160kW. This enables approximately 200 miles of range to be added in 30 minutes of charging. In addition to DC fast-charging, an 11kW onboard charger facilitates rapid charging at a Level 2 charger.

    Connectivity and Digital Experience
    Rivian has developed its connected car platform from a clean sheet to allow full control and flexibility over the vehicle hardware, software and user experience. The system operates on a high-speed Ethernet backbone that enables robust security. This platform supports granular over-the-air updates of vehicle software to enhance functionality and improve performance. All Rivian vehicles connect to a cloud-ecosystem for data exchange and processing, enabling machine learning and data services. The digital experience extends beyond the vehicle into the cloud ecosystem and mobile/web applications and provides a consistent and seamless interface for vehicle status and control. The in-vehicle experience consists of a custom 15.6-inch center touch screen, 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 6.8-inch rear touch screen. Understanding its customers desire for connected adventure, Rivian developed maps, music, navigation and other adventure-focused features to complete the digital experience. The digital user interface strongly reflects adventure, outdoors and exploration – the experience is immersive and natural whether it’s being used in a connected urban setting or well off the beaten path.

    Self-Driving
    The R1T will launch with a robust hardware suite with multiple modalities including camera, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and a high precision GPS coupled with high definition maps. This hardware enables “Level 3” (hands-off wheel and eyes off road) autonomy for highway operation. Beyond the highway Level 3, the vehicle will have a range of self-driving features focused on enabling active lifestyles.

    Safety
    Rivian’s safety systems and body-structure design will deliver IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus and NHTSA 5-Star ratings. Safety features include 8 airbags for occupant protection and reinforcements of the skateboard platform to protect the battery. The R1T and R1S will also be offered with a full complement of active safety systems enabled by Rivian’s suite of self-driving sensors.

    About Rivian
    Rivian is developing vehicles, technology and services that inspire people to get out and explore the world. Whether it’s a family camping trip or a weekend away, Rivian is focused on providing the ultimate platform for experiencing life’s adventures. Rivian has development centers in Plymouth, MI, San Jose, CA, Irvine, CA, and the UK. The company will produce vehicles at its modern, 2.6 million square foot manufacturing plant in Normal, IL. Core to delivering Rivian’s vision is a team of 600 passionate people working in close collaboration to deliver a set of products that electrify adventure.

    Pricing for the R1T starts at $61,500 after Federal Tax credit. Deliveries will begin in late 2020. Fully-equipped vehicles with the highest performance level and largest battery pack will enter production first. The 180 kWh pack (400+ miles range) and 135 kWh pack will be available at launch, with the base variant (250+ miles range) to follow within 12 months of the start of production.

    Rivian is now accepting preorders for a refundable deposit of $1,000. More information is available at www.rivian.com.

    Edited by William Maley



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    Very excited for this pickup truck. :metal:

    I do wonder why the 180 kWh battery pack drops HP. I get it has more range, but I see no reason to drop the HP compared to the 135 kWh battery pack.

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    Like the Cyclone look. :P 

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    Love the open roominess of this truck! :metal:

    Gotta love a nice big Frunk!

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    Like the ability of the tailgate in this truck.

     

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    Cool storage area that also looks accessible from the inside.

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    Great Dash

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    Gotta love the power plug ports and USB C ports in a protected spot in the bed for external use.

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    Bed does look short, some will probably have problems with a 4'6" long bed with tailgate up. For most city and suburban dwellers, I think this will work just fine.

    See the source image

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    700 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque is insane, that is what I love about EV's.  That crushes any V8 truck.  I also like the flat floor in the interior, looks very spacious and the front trunk and storage is nice too.   Hopefully they are successful with this, I'd like to see more options for EVs rather than small hatchbacks.

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    1 hour ago, dfelt said:

    Love the open roominess of this truck!

    You can tell absolutely nothing from that picture of how roomy it actually is.. 

    But it is an EV so I would only expect you to assume it's God-like. 

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    7 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    You can tell absolutely nothing from that picture of how roomy it actually is.. 

    But it is an EV so I would only expect you to assume it's God-like. 

    LOL, you can tell alot from this photo:

    See the source image

    You can clearly see the accelerator and brake, that right there tells you there is way more legroom than in autos that have the dash connect to the center console. I know for a fact this has more room as it is much like the 90's suburban. I have more leg room in my 1994 suburban than in my 2006 escalade esv due to that center area being more open. 

    This look at the dash shows you the large amount of legroom to enjoy. I have not ever had a headroom problem in a truck, so that is a true assumption by me that I will have plenty of headroom. Hopefully on the release at LA we will learn the actual leg, hip, head room sizing for this truck.

    See the source image

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    2 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    LOL, you can tell alot from this photo:

     

    You can clearly see the accelerator and brake, that right there tells you there is way more legroom than in autos that have the dash connect to the center console. I know for a fact this has more room as it is much like the 90's suburban. I have more leg room in my 1994 suburban than in my 2006 escalade esv due to that center area being more open. 

    This look at the dash shows you the large amount of legroom to enjoy. I have not ever had a headroom problem in a truck, so that is a true assumption by me that I will have plenty of headroom. Hopefully on the release at LA we will learn the actual leg, hip, head room sizing for this truck.

     

    That big open space in front of the center seems weird....yes, w/ the EV platform they don't need a large transmission tunnel, but some sort of storage compartment there would be useful rather than dead space... 

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    https://www.rivian.com/

    Their website is showing 1 day and a little over an hour till we see their SUV the R1S.

    http://products.rivian.com/suv/

    Gotta love the 3ft wading depth of the pickup truck.

    2 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    That big open space in front of the center seems weird....yes, w/ the EV platform they don't need a large transmission tunnel, but some sort of storage compartment there would be useful rather than dead space... 

    Gotta wonder what the rectangle is on what we would usually call a firewall. Wonder if it is access to the Fronk? 

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    4 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    https://www.rivian.com/

    Their website is showing 1 day and a little over an hour till we see their SUV the R1S.

    http://products.rivian.com/suv/

    Gotta love the 3ft wading depth of the pickup truck.

    Gotta wonder what the rectangle is on what we would usually call a firewall. Wonder if it is access to the Fronk? 

    Could be..maybe an access door for cats or small dogs to go hang out in the frunk...

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    2 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    Could be..maybe an access door for cats or small dogs to go hang out in the frunk...

    New home for your Motley Crew? ;) 

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    10 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    LOL, you can tell alot from this photo:

    See the source image

    You can clearly see the accelerator and brake, that right there tells you there is way more legroom than in autos that have the dash connect to the center console. I know for a fact this has more room as it is much like the 90's suburban. I have more leg room in my 1994 suburban than in my 2006 escalade esv due to that center area being more open. 

    This look at the dash shows you the large amount of legroom to enjoy. I have not ever had a headroom problem in a truck, so that is a true assumption by me that I will have plenty of headroom. Hopefully on the release at LA we will learn the actual leg, hip, head room sizing for this truck.

    See the source image

    Well if you're taking this picture that serious, the headrest is almost touching the roof so you're screwed. Maybe you don't know how the word "fact" works but that is the complete opposite when you don't have any hard numbers or anything provable.

    I can't imagine this being any roomier than a half ton truck from the D3. Look at how narrow the center arm rest is.. It's absolutely smaller than a Silverado, Ram, or F150. 

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    1 minute ago, ccap41 said:

    Well if you're taking this picture that serious, the headrest is almost touching the roof so you're screwed. Maybe you don't know how the word "fact" works but that is the complete opposite when you don't have any hard numbers or anything provable.

    I can't imagine this being any roomier than a half ton truck from the D3. Look at how narrow the center arm rest is.. It's absolutely smaller than a Silverado, Ram, or F150. 

    And where are the cup holders?  Unsellable without them...

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    2 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Well if you're taking this picture that serious, the headrest is almost touching the roof so you're screwed. Maybe you don't know how the word "fact" works but that is the complete opposite when you don't have any hard numbers or anything provable.

    I can't imagine this being any roomier than a half ton truck from the D3. Look at how narrow the center arm rest is.. It's absolutely smaller than a Silverado, Ram, or F150. 

    Yes that armrest looks narrow, but the truck based on specs posted by William is 79.33 inches wide. F150 is 79.9 inches, Chevy is 80 inches and Ram is 82.1 inches. So I would say the seats could be wider / bigger. It will be interesting to see it in person.

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    30 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    And where are the cup holders?  Unsellable without them...

    That's actually 100% accurate. Nice eye. 👍

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    9 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    700 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque is insane, that is what I love about EV's.  That crushes any V8 truck.

    Come again??
    DuraMax V8 : 910 TRQ
    PowerStroke V8 : 935 TRQ
    Cummins (ya; it's a 6) : 925 TRQ

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    9 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Come again??
    DuraMax V8 : 910 TRQ
    PowerStroke V8 : 935 TRQ
    Cummins (ya; it's a 6) : 925 TRQ

    Those are also Heavy Duty trucks with lower horsepower numbers.  This truck does 0-60 as fast as a Corvette Z06, which is pretty insane.  This Rivian will compete with Ecoboost 3.5 F150s.  I'm sure if this company got going and comes up with an HD pickup they could have it tow 20,000 lbs or some ridiculous number.

    The new Tesla Roadster is supposed to have 7,000 lb-ft of torque, I would imagine they could fit that to the pick up they are planning.  I wouldn't bet on diesel as the future.

    Edited by smk4565
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    Have to take these early 'factory' pics with a few grains of salt. The shot of the interior shows NO DOORS nor any hinges for doors, therefore it doesn't seem to be a 'production' truck. Things are going to change and 'real world' camera shots may well tell a markedly different story.

    Narrow center console is a HUGE plus IMO- they've grown increasingly fatter and take measureable space from the 2 outer seating spots. People think they need a microwave-sized console for some dumb-assed reason. RHall makes a good point about the dead space in front of it, tho. I have a split bench with a fold-down, and I built a tray to sit on the trans tunnel to hold a bunch of stuff.

    Overall, despite the weird styling and the omission of a bed (to speak of), it looks pretty well finished and thought out. The issue is, yet again, a totally noncompetitive price.

    By the by, I've already added the word 'frunk' to the list of words I refuse to use.

    Just now, smk4565 said:

    Those are also Heavy Duty trucks with lower horsepower numbers.  This truck does 0-60 as fast as a Corvette Z06, which is pretty insane.  This Rivian will compete with Ecoboost 3.5 F150s.  I'm sure if this company got going and comes up with an HD pickup they could have it tow 20,000 lbs or some ridiculous number.

    You said this truck's numbers "crush all other V8 trucks" and they don't. Perhaps you misspoke. Yet again.

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    Ford Powerstoke 450 hp

    Ram Cummings 385 hp

    Chevy 445 hp

    Those are not 700 hp.  And I know trucks use torque, but 700 hp is still 700 hp.  

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    21 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Don't think cars use TRQ too? Interesting.

    Ya know he is just about numbers, maybe we are expecting too much in regards to understanding how torque and HP work together to move an auto. ;) 

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    6 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    Ford Powerstoke 450 hp

    Ram Cummings 385 hp

    Chevy 445 hp

    Those are not 700 hp.  And I know trucks use torque, but 700 hp is still 700 hp.  

    * CUMMINS

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    Given how many flash-in-the-pan electric car companies there have been in recent years, is there any sense that this is as real as say Tesla and not just smoke-and-mirrors fakery like Faraday Future was?   This is the first I've heard of Rivan. 

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    56 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    Given how many flash-in-the-pan electric car companies there have been in recent years, is there any sense that this is as real as say Tesla and not just smoke-and-mirrors fakery like Faraday Future was?   This is the first I've heard of Rivan. 

    Unlike Faraday Future which was thought up on a napkin and then went marketing flash with vaporware for an auto to raise cash till recently, Rivian Automotive was founded in 2009 by RJ  Scaringe.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/rj-scaringe-58355716 

    He has a PHD and Masters in Automotive Engineering from MIT. 

    This guy is not going to fail. I think this will be the next Tesla of the auto world.

    https://www.cargroup.org/person/rj-scaringe/  

    scaringe-300x300.jpg

    RJ Scaringe founded Rivian in 2009 and led the company through a tough economic climate to secure substantial financing, recruit and scale an exceptional team, and establish the company’s product and technology platform. Mr. Scaringe excels in analyzing highly complex systems, combining deep analytical capabilities with a system-based development methodology. Mr. Scaringe earned his MS and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a member of the research team in the Sloan Automotive Laboratory. In leading Rivian, Mr. Scaringe works to maintain a highly collaborative environment, and his hands-on approach drives innovative thinking into all aspects of the business and company culture.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivian 

    To say this guy has done his homework, secured his funding and gathered multiple government  grants and secured the full manufacturing facility at Normal, Illinois which was a former Mitsubishi Motors auto plant which has 2.4 million sq ft of manufacturing room along with a functioning paint shop, robotics, stamping machines and other production equipment. This will allow Rivian to potentially leapfrog ahead of Tesla in ramping up production using established and tested manufacturing methods from the auto industry.

    I honestly expect them to ramp up and deliver auto's for sale much faster than Tesla has done. The keep quiet skunk works project till they had a production ready product was the smartest thing RJ did for Rivian Automotive.

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    1 hour ago, Robert Hall said:

    Given how many flash-in-the-pan electric car companies there have been in recent years, is there any sense that this is as real as say Tesla and not just smoke-and-mirrors fakery like Faraday Future was?   This is the first I've heard of Rivan. 

    Likewise, I wonder if they will really get this off the ground.  The concept and what it delivers looks great.  Makes you wonder why one of the big guys isn't working on something like this.  Where is Toyota with an EV truck?  

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    Super smart people don't necessarily make the best business people.. Just sayin' education doesn't equate to a successful company. 

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    • By Drew Dowdell
      The Hyundai Sonata broke cover a couple of weeks before the New York Auto Show, but I finally got to see it on Thursday.  While there are frequent reports that the midsize sedan segment is dying, it still is able to move about 153,000 units just in the month of March.  Hyundai sees an opportunity here as some of its competition, namely the Ford Fusion, will be going to the great used-car lot in the sky in the near future.  Still, the Sonata has only sold around 21,000 units year to date while Nissan can move that many Altimas in a month and Accord and Camry do even better.  So what is Hyundai going for here by introducing a new Sonata?  They're going for sexy.
      The midsize market is a conservative one, few models are ever called sexy. Hyundai has gone out of their way to give the Sonata a sexy look without looking odd (Accord) or overwrought (Camry). Up front, there is a huge.. HUGE...grille opening. It has the somewhat traditional six-sided shape but is pinched in a little at the bottom.  Above that are the lighting accents that most everyone will mention when talking about this car.  Along the hood, they are chrome strips that light up when the car is on.  Once this thing hits the streets it will be a very distinctive visual feature that will separate this car from the Accords and Camrys.  The character line flows from the headlights along the body in a very slight S-curve.  Multiple creases on the door panels help keep the car from looking slab-sided. The wheels are an attractive two-tone 10-spoke design.  Around back is a full-width U-shape taillamp setup that looks like the Honda Civic setup, but upside down. It integrates into a rather tall (for a family sedan) spoiler on the rear trunk like. The tops of the taillights have small fins that ostensibly direct airflow the way Hyundai intends.  The overall exterior is handsome and sensuous and does a good job of distinguishing itself from others in the class. 
       Inside is a mixed bag. The overall look is handsome and restrained, but areas of cost-cutting were visible. There is cheaper plastic on the door panels, lower dash, and parts of the center console.  Still, it is hard to argue with a full TFT screen for the gauge cluster and a large, wide infotainment system in the center.  The infotainment system sits high on the dash and looks like a tablet popping up from below. Controls are simple and easy to reach, and Hyundai has joined the ranks of the new decade by removing the shifter and replacing it with push-button controls. I like Hyundai's setup better than Honda's which I have to think about to use. The seats are a bit flat, but there is plenty of head and leg room. I do like Hyundai's use of two-tone interior, but that won't be on all cars. 
      At release, the Hyundai Sonata will come with two engines, a 2.5 direct injected 4-cylinder with 191 horsepower at 6,100 RPM and 181 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. An optional 1.6T will have 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque from 1,5000 - 4,500 rpm.  The 2.5 will get 33mpg combined and the 1.6T will get 31mpg combined.   Some have balked at the idea that the buy-up engine has less horsepower than the base engine, but in this case, it is the flat torque curve that will really make the 1.6T feel faster.  For those who are wanting more power, Hyundai is reportedly working on an N-Line version that will have over 275 horsepower.  For the greenies, a hybrid is coming soon as well, with a possibly plug-in version in the works. Driving impressions will have to wait until this fall.
      Overall, Hyundai has a very strong contender for the shrinking mid-size market. Not all of the Ford Fusion owners will go to crossovers, so Hyundai looks ready to scoop them up.
       


      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      The Hyundai Sonata broke cover a couple of weeks before the New York Auto Show, but I finally got to see it on Thursday.  While there are frequent reports that the midsize sedan segment is dying, it still is able to move about 153,000 units just in the month of March.  Hyundai sees an opportunity here as some of its competition, namely the Ford Fusion, will be going to the great used-car lot in the sky in the near future.  Still, the Sonata has only sold around 21,000 units year to date while Nissan can move that many Altimas in a month and Accord and Camry do even better.  So what is Hyundai going for here by introducing a new Sonata?  They're going for sexy.
      The midsize market is a conservative one, few models are ever called sexy. Hyundai has gone out of their way to give the Sonata a sexy look without looking odd (Accord) or overwrought (Camry). Up front, there is a huge.. HUGE...grille opening. It has the somewhat traditional six-sided shape but is pinched in a little at the bottom.  Above that are the lighting accents that most everyone will mention when talking about this car.  Along the hood, they are chrome strips that light up when the car is on.  Once this thing hits the streets it will be a very distinctive visual feature that will separate this car from the Accords and Camrys.  The character line flows from the headlights along the body in a very slight S-curve.  Multiple creases on the door panels help keep the car from looking slab-sided. The wheels are an attractive two-tone 10-spoke design.  Around back is a full-width U-shape taillamp setup that looks like the Honda Civic setup, but upside down. It integrates into a rather tall (for a family sedan) spoiler on the rear trunk like. The tops of the taillights have small fins that ostensibly direct airflow the way Hyundai intends.  The overall exterior is handsome and sensuous and does a good job of distinguishing itself from others in the class. 
       Inside is a mixed bag. The overall look is handsome and restrained, but areas of cost-cutting were visible. There is cheaper plastic on the door panels, lower dash, and parts of the center console.  Still, it is hard to argue with a full TFT screen for the gauge cluster and a large, wide infotainment system in the center.  The infotainment system sits high on the dash and looks like a tablet popping up from below. Controls are simple and easy to reach, and Hyundai has joined the ranks of the new decade by removing the shifter and replacing it with push-button controls. I like Hyundai's setup better than Honda's which I have to think about to use. The seats are a bit flat, but there is plenty of head and leg room. I do like Hyundai's use of two-tone interior, but that won't be on all cars. 
      At release, the Hyundai Sonata will come with two engines, a 2.5 direct injected 4-cylinder with 191 horsepower at 6,100 RPM and 181 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. An optional 1.6T will have 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque from 1,5000 - 4,500 rpm.  The 2.5 will get 33mpg combined and the 1.6T will get 31mpg combined.   Some have balked at the idea that the buy-up engine has less horsepower than the base engine, but in this case, it is the flat torque curve that will really make the 1.6T feel faster.  For those who are wanting more power, Hyundai is reportedly working on an N-Line version that will have over 275 horsepower.  For the greenies, a hybrid is coming soon as well, with a possibly plug-in version in the works. Driving impressions will have to wait until this fall.
      Overall, Hyundai has a very strong contender for the shrinking mid-size market. Not all of the Ford Fusion owners will go to crossovers, so Hyundai looks ready to scoop them up.
       

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