Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe was recently profiled by The New York Times, and hidden among the stories about the all-electric car maker’s early design days was an inital production estimate for the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV. In 2021, Rivian’s estimated first full year of rolling vehicles through the assembly line, Scaringe is anticipating 20,000 to 40,000 cars will be made.
The electric vehicle startup purchased its Normal, Illinois car factory from Misubishi in 2017. Since then, the Rivian team – which includes prior Mitsubishi plant workers – has been hard at work bringing the company up to a high-volume manufacturing level. Rivian’s progress is apparently going very well, and Scaringe has teased a few other projects underway for the facility such as an on-site food farm for employees.
Residents local to Rivian’s facility also appear to be giving their nod of approval to the car maker’s efforts. Earlier this week, the Normal City Council decided to move ahead with a request to rename Mitsubishi Motorway, the stretch of highway leading to Rivian’s plant, to Rivian Motorway. Another street with access to the factory is also in line for a rename – Sakura Lane will become Electric Avenue.
In driving the progress of the company, Scaringe was described as having a few parallels with Tesla’s Elon Musk. “Fortunately, my personality is one that I never lost confidence I could do it,” he told the Times. “That doesn’t mean I always knew how I was going to do it.” Musk’s matra that was repeated often in the early days of Tesla and SpaceX was similar. “If something is important enough, you do it, even if the odds are not in your favor,” he told interviewers on several occasions. Musk even admitted to the low probability of success for both of his primary companies, 10% for SpaceX, and ‘very very low’ for Tesla, specifically. Scaringe seems to have a bit of a better head start with Rivian from Tesla’s spearheading the electric vehicle industry.
A few interesting details about Rivian’s beginnings have made the rounds since the company unveiled its R1T and R1S flagship vehicles. For one, Scaringe set out to start a car company with the global environment in mind. He was a car person at heart, a Porsche fan in particular, but over time he realized there was a contradiction between what he loved and what his values were with regard to sustainability. Even the fuel-efficient sports car Rivian initially designed wasn’t good enough for what Scaringe wanted to achieve.
“In my heart and soul, I knew I wasn’t answering the fundamental question of why the world needs this company to be successful,” Scaringe is quoted as saying in the article.
He decided to start over with something else more aligned with his personal values after finishing the first car in 2011. From there, Rivian was born, built, developed, and now on the way to delivering its first all-electric adventure vehices by the end of next year. If there’s one thing that the Times piece made clear, it’s the level of dedication Scaringe and the Rivian team has put into making their R1T truck and R1S SUV a reality.
Rivian is still taking preorders on its website and aims to have its first vehicles delivered by the end of 2020.