OffRoading E-Truck has Crazy Specs

February 17, 2019

Schizo about this one, as finding a better way for yahoos to tear up wilderness spaces doesn’t seem like a great idea to me.

That said, looks like this new electric truck/EV platform has nutsy capabilities – at a price. But prices fall, in recent experience, faster than we imagine.


RJ Scaringe is a classic car guy who likes efficiency. We share a common wish. Why not have classic cars with modern electric drivetrains? I asked what possessed Rivian to build an electric SUV and pickup truck when everyone else is focusing on small to crossover electric vehicles?

Having spent a decade under the radar, starting in 2009 at one of the worst times to invest in a car company, this MIT Ph.D. automotive engineer decided the world needed another EV. But RJ knew it had to be different, with a new architecture, a new building process, and something that answered a real need, not hype. RJ started with a clean sheet and designed Rivian’s first vehicle, a coupe.

Getting investors onboard a decade ago was no easy task. Early on, Rivian focused on building a core technology team with the right EV competencies — again, not easy a decade ago. The team grew to over 600 employees over the following decade, discreetly.

Rivian now has an ex-Mitsubishi plant and purpose-designed in-house software. The coupe was dropped and RJ went for the gusto, designing something until now no other automaker dared to touch, an electric pickup truck (and an electric SUV).

RJ told me that he found there is a wish to get dirty, to throw the kids in the vehicle, and to go off-road for adventures in the US. But EVs are mostly cool and trendy road cars. I asked if Subaru is what Rivian is going after and the answer was Subaru meets Land Rover.

Contrary to how conventional automakers contract out many components and systems, Rivian used as many off-the-shelves products as possible, and then designed and built most of the rest in-house. The testing is inspiring, with many systems developed from scratch.

Almost everything is tested onsite — its cloud platform, vehicle technology, and components. It was a sight to see hundreds of cells tested individually under different loads and simulating various weather extremes. They are then assembled as sub-modules, modules, and eventually packs. The assembly line has been tested and simulated and the company is now ready to try it out in its plant. Basically, RJ wanted to make sure its Rivian EVs could be driven hard in almost any weather.

Predicting how drivers will use their EVs is something Rivian has been working on. Tests adjusting battery management according to predictive driving, and later driver input, are key to the success of Rivian EVs. Much of its software, developed by the home team, aims to squeeze out as much performance and reliability as it can from the battery pack. Nothing seems to have been left to chance.

It was impressive to see the amount of work, testing, and simulation this startup initiated on its own.

In the end, 864 cells form a pack composed of sub-modules. I like the solution Rivian chose to cool its modules. It chose a cooling plate in the middle of each module, making cooling easier inside the modules.

As far as distribution, Rivian favors its own dealership network, but it is flexible on this topic.

6 Responses to “OffRoading E-Truck has Crazy Specs”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Schizo about this one, as finding a better way for yahoos to tear up wilderness spaces doesn’t seem like a great idea to me.

    But we already know what tiny percentage of rough-tough, boulder-climbing SUVs and pickups end up actually driving over rough land vs. spending all their time on interstate highways, city streets, and suburban parking lots.

    Besides, the quickest way to ruin the serenity of parkland and wilderness are the roaring combustion engines of bikes, boats and SUVs.

  2. grindupbaker Says:

    Excellent. Can I get an optional package with a railway caboose wood stove with a clogged chimney so I can have smoke blowing out the side ? I wouldn’t get the full outdoorsman experience without that.

  3. Terry Donte Says:

    Actually I think this is a great idea. The SUV hopefully full of at least 6 six people will charge out to the wilderness , driving on that snow covered road to the very end and beyond. Than the cells will go dead as they have about 50 percent less capacity when cold and those 6 people will freeze to death which while hard on them would make the world a better place in the long run.

    The real world has a problem with EV vehicles, they have a very limited range and a limited range where they have full capacity. To hot or to cold is death to the cells.
    They also have a very limited life, no more than a thousand cycles. Tesla and other electric vehicles get around this in part by having the software shut off the cell when the charge drops below a set voltage. Using software updates to allow for greater discharge in the future the vehicle manufacture can pretend the cells have a longer life span as if you barely discharge them they last longer. To keep the vehicle running as the cells age you have to keep allowing for deeper and deeper discharges.

    The other problem is the current cell technology has a flammable electrolyte which is the reason you see Tesla cars burst into flames. Put a hole in the cell and short it out and viola, flames.

    We need less pollution, to get there with vehicles , we need a different power storage technology.

    • funslinger62 Says:

      ”Tesla cars burst into flames” while you ignore the 20 gas cars every hour that catch fire in the US. That’s right. In 2015, on average, 1 gas car caught fire every 3 minutes.

      “About 174,000 vehicle fires were reported in the United States in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the National Fire Protection Association. Virtually all of those fires involved gasoline powered cars. That works out to about one every three minutes.”

      As of May 2018 there had only been 40 Tesla fires total since Teslas have been on the road.

  4. dumboldguy Says:

    Another toy for the rich, just like electric airplanes. Actually laughable, in many ways.

    0 to 60 in THREE seconds?
    $65 K price tag?
    14,000 Newton-meters of torque? That would rip the tires off the rims.
    (that has to be a mistake—-that’s equal to over 10,000 foot-pounds, and the most powerful cars on the road are in the 600 to 800 ft-lb range—-Teslas S is around 800).
    A unique “face”? It’s UGLY!—-don’t they understand that the chest-hair and penis-size impaired “men” that buy pickups that never go off road want BIG honking grilles? Look at Silverados, Rams, and F-150’s. I predict that it’s going to get the same we;come as the Edsel’s “unique face”.

    A car company that COULD have given us a useful vehicle has succumbed to the marketers—-too bad. An “adventure vehicle”? And all kinds of “technical” BS in the clip? JFC!

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