Most of the talk about electric cars — and utes — revolves around Tesla, but this little known car company is poised to beat everyone.
Most people haven’t heard of this car company, but it could soon be a household name thanks to some big time investors.
American electric car start-up Rivian has been building a giant war chest to take on the might of Tesla.
The company just received another cash injection of $US2.65b ($3.33b) from a range of big investment funds and Amazon.
This latest haul takes the brand’s cash injections in the past two years to $US8b ($10.4b).
Ford has invested $500m, while tech giant Amazon has taken part in several investment rounds, including dropping $700m in 2019.
Amazon also has a standing order for 100,000 specially built delivery vans, which will help the company’s green drive.
Building cars is extremely capital intensive — the Holden VE Commodore cost one billion to develop back in 2006 — and electric cars are even pricier due to the hi-tech batteries and software required. Car makers such as Hyundai and Kia have committed more than $30b over the next decade to developing electric cars.
The latest cash injection comes as the company gears up to start production. Deliveries of the R1T ute are expected to start later this year, as are the first Amazon delivery vans. These will be joined by the R1S SUV at a later date.
Rivian is reportedly finishing off the development of its factory in Illinois, meaning the cash is likely to be used to fund production.
If an electric Rivian ute hits the road this year it will be the first maker to enter the lucrative market, beating rivals such as the Tesla Cybertruck and electric Ford F-150.
Dual cab utes are big business in Australia, but pick-up trucks are the king of the road in the US, meaning an electric workhorse could revolutionise the car industry.
Rivian claims its R1T will have some pretty impressive performance. The truck will tow up to 4500kg and have a claimed range of up to 640km.
The good news for Aussie tradies is that it’s expected to be sold in Australia.
The Rivian R1T will be available in several variants including with a 135kWh or 180kWh battery pack, with respective theoretical range of 500km and 640km.
All are all-wheel drive — electric motors power each wheel, with torque vectoring to ensure optimum grip.
Power figures vary with specification: the smaller battery makes 563kW/1120Nm and the larger battery pack prioritises range over power, making 522kW/1120Nm.
The ute will have an 800kg payload and a wading depth of up to a metre.