* The company continues to impress. From Bloomberg…
Rivian Automotive Inc., the electric-truck startup backed by Amazon.com Inc. and Ford Motor Co., will provide the “skateboard” platform for a premium, high-performance electric Ford vehicle, its top executive said.
“In Ford’s case, we provide the platform.” Rivian Chief Executive Officer R. J. Scaringe said in an interview on Saturday. “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 in Rivian in April 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.
Rivian has invested $29.4 million in its future Normal production facility in recent weeks as work progresses inside and outside the former Mitsubishi Motors North America plant to reconfigure for electric vehicle manufacturing later this year.
“2020 is going to be a significant year for Rivian, not only for construction of the vehicle but for the facility as well,” Zach Dietmeier, Rivian plant communications manager, told The Pantagraph.
Among building permits issued in recent weeks for Rivian, 100 N. Rivian Motorway, has been $11.3 million to Lesco Design and Manufacturing Inc., LaGrange, Ky., for construction of a conveyance line for final assembly of the vehicle.
“It’ll be done, hopefully, within the next month of so,” Dietmeier said.
Rivian’s first vehicles are getting a price cut of sorts months before they even roll off the line. Company founder RJ Scaringe told Reuters in a chat that the electric R1T truck and its R1S SUV counterpart would cost less than originally announced. He didn’t provide full pricing, but he indicated that a mid-range R1T with 300 miles of range and an electrochromic glass roof would sell for $69,000, while a comparable R1S would sell for $72,000. The automaker had pegged the starting prices for the R1T and R1S at $61,500 and $65,000 respectively.
It’s not certain what prompted the lower prices, though it might just be a matter of economies of scale. Scaringe told Engadget in 2018 that the initial production would focus on “thousands of units” and ramp up. Rivian has racked up “such a long queue” since then, according to Scaringe. If the company is better-prepared for production, it could meet that demand (and thus reach profitability) that much sooner.