It’s difficult for automakers to keep their prototypes under wraps. Quite often, you can tell what vehicle is hiding under the camouflage as it tests on public roads. But apparently, Rivian doesn’t have to worry too much about prying eyes. The automaker has been testing its vehicle hardware on used F-150 bodies.
The trucks have been testing regularly in the Detroit area, says Rivian founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe. Why hide them as F-150s, though? Apparently, the wheelbase of the F-150 works out well with Rivian’s skateboard architecture, which incorporates the battery, transmissions, motors, cooling system, and front and rear suspension into a complete module that can accommodate any type of body sitting on top.
“We need something to keep the weather out while we put a lot of miles on our skateboard, so they’re driving around in Detroit right now, too,” Scaringe told the Detroit Free Press. “They’re all over the place, but nobody knows. We’re very quiet about that.”
The Rivian R1T pickup is expected to arrive in late 2020. Each wheel gets an electric motor rated at 197 hp for a total system output of 788 hp. Rivian estimates a 0-60 time of just 3 seconds with the medium-sized battery. Range should max out at more than 400 miles depending on the model. The automaker also has an SUV, the R1S, in the works.
Design and engineering operations take place in Michigan, but Rivian is developing its technology and batteries in San Jose and Irvine, California. It will build vehicles at the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois.
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Scaringe says there’s no corporate connection between Rivian and Ford. But Amazon has just confirmed a $700 million investment in the company. In other Rivian news, the automaker applied for a patent on an auxiliary battery module that may boost range. This extra battery would sit in the cargo area and supply power to the electric motor, and it is removable.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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