DETROIT — Rivian Automotive CEO RJ Scaringe says his startup plans four other battery-electric derivatives in the SUV and pickup segments beginning later this year to accompany the R1T pickup and R1S SUV that it showed at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.
It's part of Rivian's aggressive plan to come to market, the 35-year-old Scaringe said. But he admits the company is now in "the hardest part" of its decade-old dream to become a full-on automaker: actually making autos.
With an experienced management team recruited from across the automotive establishment, a defined product strategy, a capital cushion and a dedicated factory, Scaringe says the Rivian team is ready to give it their all and avoid problems that have vexed others, such as Tesla.
"We do recognize the complexity of assembling and putting vehicles together, of managing a very complex supply chain and logistics network," Scaringe said during a discussion last week at the Automotive News World Congress. "And we're very cognizant of the nuts and bolts, and of the need to follow a proper process to ensure that when we launch the vehicle, it can be launched with as few problems, errors and challenges as possible."
Scaringe said his company plans to begin delivering copies of the R1T and R1S beginning in 2020, and plans at least four other vehicles that will share the same battery and powertrain "skateboard." Those products, which Scaringe did not detail, will be in the pickup and SUV segments.
"I think any great brand ... to build a brand that customers are going to be excited about and that customers are going to want to be part of, it has to fundamentally reset expectations. It has to disprove untruths," Scaringe said. "Tesla took the untruth that electric cars were boring and slow ... and they disproved that. They showed people that an electric car can be exciting and fun."
Scaringe said his company, focusing on trucks and off-road-capable SUVs, will answer a different question.
"What we need to disprove is that an electric vehicle [can't] get dirty, and that an electric vehicle [can't] be rugged, and an electric vehicle [can't] go-off road and take your family places," Scaringe said.