They might still be a little way off from bursting onto the local auto market, but the CEO and founder of electric ute and SUV startup Rivian is already thinking about how to share the love in wide open spaces like Australia.
With “range anxiety” often cited as a concern for electric vehicles – particularly those who want to go off the beaten track – Rivian’s high-capacity R1T ute and R1S SUV will offer a number of battery pack sizes ranging from 105kWh with over 370km range, up to a hefty 180kWh with a serious 660km range.
That in itself is heart-warming news for those concerned that EVs will “ruin the weekend” – but it gets better than that.
Rivian’s visionary CEO RJ Scaringe, whose electric utes (or pickups) and SUVs made headlines when first unveiled at last year’s LA Auto Show, has now also said that Rivian will install electric car chargers in out-of-the-way places so that adventurers can travel to remote places safe in the knowledge they will be able to get a boost of electrons when they get there.
Pointing out that mobile phone coverage was also once sparse, Scaringe says in an rare interview with Drive, that “the kids born today won’t know a world in 15 years” where there isn’t charging infrastructure everywhere.
“Part of the infrastructure we’re going to build is in those remote locations, so it’s easy to pick up electrons when you’re farther from urban areas,” he said.
Scaringe is referring to Rivian’s home market – the US wilderness – but both he and chief engineer Brian Gase have already made it clear Australia is on Rivian’s radar of key markets.
In addition to delivering electrons in the outback, Scaringe also noted that if needed, Rivian utes and SUVs will also be able to share electrons, as well carry extra packs to extend range or supply energy for other needs (put the kettle on will you RJ?).
“You’re starting to get into the long tail of use cases, but even there we’ve designed the vehicle so you can have auxiliary battery packs,” Scaringe said.
“You can also charge Rivian-to-Rivian, which is a neat thing. You connect the two vehicles and then I could hand you some electrons.”
Of course – there are some places that will always be difficult to power up in, the Rivian CEO notes.
“That takes us to the limit, and of course you can always find a corner of the world where it won’t work, just like you can’t find a gas station in Antarctica. You won’t be able to find a plug in Antarctica, so there are natural limitations.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.