MILL VALLEY, Calif. -- Electric vehicle startup Rivian on Saturday displayed its pickup truck and SUV at an event in San Francisco's Bay Area and said that when their prices are unveiled soon they will be lower than has been previously announced.
Rivian founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe told Reuters the mid-range R1T pickup truck with a glass sky panel that can change from blue to clear was about $69,000. It can travel 300 miles on a full charge. A similar range R1S SUV will sell for about $72,000.
Rivian said the large battery could go 400 miles and the smallest could go 230 miles.
Scaringe declined to say how many prospective buyers have so far spent $1,000 on a refundable deposit to hold their spot for a Rivian, but he said the reaction had been "really positive."
"So we're excited by that. But we now have the challenge of a lot of pre-order customers aren't going to get the cars as fast as they like because there's such a long queue," he said.
Rivian, founded in 2009, made waves when it unveiled its first prototype model at the Los Angeles auto show in 2018. It has raised $3.6 billion and counts Amazon.com Inc. and Ford Motor Co. as key investors.
Many customers at the event were excited about the designs, but Patrick Bonsi, who flew from New Jersey to see the vehicles, questioned whether Rivian would have a Tesla Supercharger-like charging network. He owns a Tesla Model 3.
"What I found with super charging is, if the Supercharger network is not made by the car company, it doesn't charge the car as fast," said Bonsi.
Scaringe said Rivian was working on rolling out a network of charging stations at key locations such as national parks, but that the vehicles can charge on most charging networks available today.
Brian Gase, Rivian chief engineer of special projects and employee No.4, was busy showing customers the batteries, saying 7,776 of them were powering the pickup truck, and one was powering a flashlight that slides into the door, giving the car a lucky 7,777 batteries.
The first R1T trucks will be delivered starting at the end of this year, followed shortly after by the R1S SUVs, Scaringe said.
Meanwhile, Scaringe said the much anticipated vehicle Rivian is developing with Ford -- first announced last April -- will be a premium, high-performance vehicle.
“In Ford’s case, we provide the platform.” Scaringe told Bloomberg in an interview. “They will provide the top hat, the body and the interior.”
The “skateboard” is the entire platform, including the motor, battery pack, computer systems and wheels. The design is modular and allows for different vehicle body types to be added on top. Rivian is seeking partnerships to scale and grow beyond its own consumer electric vehicle offering.
Ford invested $500 million in Rivian and announced its intention to build a vehicle using Rivian’s technology. Scaringe declined to comment on the vehicle class or design, and didn’t confirm which party would assemble the final Ford vehicle or give a date for its release.
“We have confirmed we are working with Rivian on a vehicle which we have not yet announced,” Ford spokeswoman Emma Bergg said on Saturday. “We do not comment on future products.”
Bloomberg contributed to this report.