Rivian: First all-electric car on schedule for 2020

Better Place was a company that was looking to do electric car charging stations that would encourage drivers to get to public charge points rather than filling up their cars on expensive gasoline. At the time of the company’s IPO, there were over 5,000 Better Place stations throughout the world, but it wasn’t enough to offset the popularity of Nissan Leafs that were being heavily invested in.

“Because Better Place invested heavily in battery-swap infrastructure and rapid access charges that brought Leaf pricing in line with gasoline, it looked to become a substantial profit generator. However, lease agreements made by the Israeli Government to Tesla, the market leader in electric vehicles, resulted in a significant share of leases being converted to long-term Tesla leases, increasing demand for (the) Nissan LEAF,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a research note last week.

On Tuesday, Rivian quietly unveiled what it described as a new production vehicle prototype. Rivian said that it was the company’s fifth generation EV, and the first fully autonomous vehicle. Rivian says that the vehicle was “engineered from the ground up for a revolution in production electric vehicles,” and has similar specs to the T18, the most recent model of the Renault Zoe.

“This is our first car and we really plan to make it better than what we came here to announce,” Rivian President and CEO Christian Allard said in a statement. “We’re a massive company with over 750 employees and hundreds of partners, and we’re excited about our future.”

Since February, Rivian has filed for an IPO and currently aims to raise $1 billion to invest in its portfolio of electric-vehicle technology. It said that it is on track to eventually launch a car that is capable of “fully autonomous driving capability” and then show it off at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show next year.

Christian Allard says the company’s first car is about the size of a midsize sedan and will go on sale by 2020. The Rivian developer of software said that the vehicle will come with apps that will take the person through the “hub and spoke navigation” and various tools for passengers to interact with the car.

It’s been a whirlwind road for Rivian. Allard was selected to be CEO for the company in 2015. A few months later, it secured $150 million in investment money from the company’s founders, brothers Brad and Scott Fleischman.

Last December, Rivian revealed its plan to raise as much as $1 billion in an IPO and to use that money to invest in building the “world’s first complete production electric vehicle ecosystem.” The company indicated that it would choose between two options: building a factory in the US and engineering an electric car designed to be sold both domestically and abroad.

Allard was very excited about its ability to utilize the electric car, charging, and autonomy system to create a smooth journey.

“I think that there are a lot of challenges as an EV partner of a big OEM. One of the major things we’re looking at is how to create the ecosystem, the path to [the] road map for people to understand that when you put a Rivian on the road, there’s no choice at all,” he said last December.

Since then, Rivian quietly rebranded and developed its first car, which now is being manufactured in China. There will be one model with options for either an all-electric, all-wheel drive model, with a 220-mile range, or a hybrid that runs on electric power and gasoline. There will also be an all-hybrid SUV that will be based on the T18, but will be able to drive fully autonomously.

H/T Engadget.

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