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What EV Start-Up Rivian Is Doing That Tesla Isn’t

What EV Start-Up Rivian Is Doing That Tesla Isn’t


Narrator: With Tesla’s stronghold on the electric-car market
and multiple legacy automakers already taking a crack at the segment, it’s hard for small
companies to make much noise. However, one particular American start-up seems to be on its way to
becoming a household name when it comes to electric vehicles. Rivian is an electrical-vehicle start-up that was founded in 2009 and plans to start
producing its two vehicles, the R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck, in 2020. Rivian was recently thrust
into the global spotlight when Ford invested $500
million into the company. The unexpected partnership
happened only shortly after Amazon made its own
investment of $700 million. So what is it about Rivian that has major investors
dying to get a piece and publications likes Forbes calling them Tesla’s worst nightmare? – I knew very little about
Rivian prior to Rivian’s CEO, this guy named R.J.
Scaringe, coming to visit us here at Business Insider. You know, what they came in to talk to us about was how they were pivoting from building an electric
vehicle of some sort to focusing on electric vehicles
for the high-performance, outdoor, off-road, adventure market. Narrator: So what made Rivian choose to place its entire focus
on such a niche market? To learn more, we caught up with the company’s body
engineer, Brian Gase, at Overland Expo, a biyearly event that showcases popular adventure vehicles. – I think the answer, part of
it is obvious on the surface. You know, it’s a white space. There’s nothing out there. We’re here at Overland, and we’re the first electric
vehicle ever to be here. We’re the first electric adventure vehicle in existence. And I think when you look
at some of those things, it’s a really exciting place for us, but the reality is, it’s core to our DNA. It’s core to who we are. – So what Tesla did
when they hit the scene with the original Roadster, which was a high-performance
sports car, that’s been done. And the market now, you
know, the vehicle market, broadly wants SUVs and pickup trucks. So what Rivian’s done that’s fairly genius here is they’ve said, “Our angle is gonna be that we’re gonna sell a pickup and an SUV that have great off-road performance, high-performance generally.” They’re still gonna have
the versatility of a pickup, and still gonna have the
versatility of an SUV, and they’re probably
gonna be able to charge a lot of money for it. – So they’re very similar in performance. Spec-wise, we’ve got air suspension. We’ve got up to 14.5
inches of ground clearance. But the big thing you want to hear about is the four electric motors, the all-time all-wheel drive, the 750 horsepower, 400-mile range, three seconds 0 to 60 vehicle that can go up a 45% grade, tow 10,000 pounds, and go
through 3 feet of water. Narrator: However, there are a number of young electric automakers with plans to produce
battery-powered utility vehicles. How is Rivian standing up to
the traditional car industry that’s making so much noise? They’re not. – So Tesla for its entire history has sort of flipped the bird to the traditional auto industry and said, “We’re gonna do things our way. We’re a Silicon Valley company. We’re a tech company. We’re not a car company. We’re
a tech company, and we’re gonna do things the way that
tech companies do stuff.” Whereas what RJ and Rivian have done, what they’ve decided to
do, is cozy up to Detroit. Get close to the
traditional auto industry. Sort of model themselves
after a big car company, even though they’re not
a big car company yet. They’re not gonna disrupt
the traditional industry. They’re gonna be more like
the traditional industry. They’re gonna use a factory in
Illinois that they purchased from a traditional automaker, Mitsubishi. They’re gonna pair up with Ford. They might pair up with other automakers. I wouldn’t rule that out. They showed their pickup truck and their SUV at the LA Auto Show. It was a big reveal, and they did it like a big car company
would do their reveal. Narrator: Those only just hearing about this ambitious company
would be surprised to know that Rivian has been around
for more than a decade, quietly developing its product and acquiring sufficient financing. So why the lack of effort to generate hype like other start-ups and instead choosing to
work behind the scenes? – Our philosophy is, always, always, always underpromise and overdeliver. We want to tell you that
we’re gonna do something. We want you excited about it, and then we want to just blow you away with what we actually did. – Part of the reason why
they were quiet for so long was that they were working on their ideas and their vehicles very incrementally. Starting to unveil their vehicles towards the end of last year, about two years before they
want to start production might be decent timing
because on the one hand, it gives you enough time to build interest and get preorders and get
some deposits from customers before you actually start production. But it’s not so much
time that it’s gonna seem like you overpromised or underdelivered, or, you know, you’re
gonna lose all that hype by the time these cars
actually come around. Narrator: So Rivian has secured over a billion dollars in investments, partnered with major brands, modeled themselves after
successful legacy automakers, and created two products that
have captured the interests of adventure enthusiasts
and EV lovers alike. Now for the real question: Should electric automakers
like Tesla be nervous? – Rivian is probably a
“threat to Tesla” in the sense that they’re gonna steal some bandwidth from people who are obsessed
with electric vehicles. You know, so we won’t just
be talking about Tesla and Tesla’s electric pickup truck, we’ll be talking about Rivian and Rivian’s electric pickup truck. So Rivian gets the free press as opposed to Elon getting
all the free press. So they’re not really a threat, but it’s an extremely encouraging sign. I mean, you want to see companies that have that Tesla thing
show up in the marketplace. You don’t want to have a
whole bunch of start-ups that just don’t have
really anything going on as far as their overall master plan goes. So to have another company come in and attract this level of buzz, you know, if you were threatened by this,
you’d be out of your mind. You want this. You want to
have really viable companies that can get it done, coming in and growing the electric-vehicle market. Rivian is starting to
vacuum up some funding that’s out there. Now, obviously Rivian’s not a public company. Rivian’s still at the kind
of start-up investment stage, even though it’s been around for a while, but it is starting to rake
in some serious bucks.

36 comments

I'm a Tesla model S owner, and man this is so much better than the cyber truck… Minus price and charging network… But I'd still buy this over a cyber truck because it looks so much better!

If technology is not embraced, Rivian is doomed! Also marketing should be done head to head with Tesla not with the neglect/mistakes of Tesla!

What Rivian is doing that Tesla isn't: Not disrupting the traditional auto industry. The traditional auto industry needs to be disrupted. The dealership model needs to go.

Tesla: We have made our patents available to anyone who wants to use them for the good of the planet and in the spirit of competition.
MSM: NEW TESLA KILLER WILL EMBARRASS ELON MUSK AND MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO THANKS TO THE INVESTMENT OF AMERICAN ELITES!! TAKE THAT TESLA!!

Funny how no one talks about how heavy and durable the Tesla cyber truck will be making it classified as a heavy machine which will give you huge savings from the government making that truck a steal. Also the unibody design in a triangle shape makes it stronger and more durable then conventional pickups that's something rivian isn't doing because they wanted to be the same and blend in.

As someone who's lived his whole life in texas, the love for trucks is nothing new but one thing I loved with my purchase with my tesla was the completely removing the middle man and buy it straight up from online. Can Rivian also provide that service? I do not want to deal with your regular dealership and negotiate prices when I buy a Rivian pick up truck cause I'll be honest, it's not too far from. Now that I'll be replacing my truck soon.

I don't like Tesla because it's essentially apple. Any company that acts like apple deserves to be a dumpster fire with it's overly gay fanboys. I already prefer rivian.

tesla started in 2003… about 6 years before. the market shrinks when you’re only offering a pickup & suv. although i prefer rivien’s design over the tesla truck. lol.

What do they do differently? "Focus only on pickup trucks and suvs". And this is good for what reason? what a piece of junk clip

What a joke tata nexon EV already available for purchase for 18,102 US Dollars and in my city already 10 cars running on road

I'm not sure what advantage they are supposed have over Tesla. Unlike Rivian, Tesla has almost a decade of experience building electric vehicles, proprietary battery tech that is 5 or more years ahead of anyone else, an enormous charging network, vertical integration for cost savings and agility, and a whole line of vehicles which are getting more powerful and less expensive with each release, and finally an unbeatable database of driving info gathered from all their customers that will be essential for rolling out self driving. Oh, and they have half a million orders for their pickup truck. Which vehicle do you want to take on a camping trip? I think I would want the one that I can charge anywhere and I don't have to worry about it getting scratched on branches because it's made of stainless steel plates.

well guys. this is why you kids shoudnt get your degree from a mail-order university in India. you get business insider journalists….

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