As everyone already knows, Tesla owns a lot of mental real estate around electric vehicles. This isn’t because there aren’t other companies making them (we’ve profiled Ford’s F-150 Lightning and luxury editions like Porsche’s Taycan) but because product launches for vehicles like the Cybertruck make the news and those for other vehicles don’t. So we’re hoping to offer a small corrective to that in this article by letting you know who else is out there and what they are doing.
Rivian’s name is a play on “Indian River” which is where founder Robert Scaringe grew up. It was originally founded as Mainstream Motors in 2009 but rebranded in 2011. It went public in November 2021 and trades under RIVN on Nasdaq.
While it was originally oriented towards sports cars, Rivian is now known for pickup trucks. In fact, it produced the first fully-electric pickup, the 2022 R1T Launch Edition.
The R1T hosts 835hp, 908 lb-ft torque, and all-wheel drive in a single speed automatic transmission.
Rivian is backed by Amazon, which is looking to create a fleet of fully electric delivery vehicles, and Ford, who owns a 12% share in the “if you can’t beat them, join them” school of thought.
Rivian is building out a charging network similar to Tesla’s, which has both fast chargers and slower destination chargers. Their goal is to have 600 Rivian-exclusive sites complemented by 10,000 “Rivian Waypoints” at retail, lodging, and dining businesses, as well as parks and other locations. Such chargers have been installed in Moab, Utah, and Radnor Lake State Park in Tennessee.
Lucid was founded in 2007 and went public via a very popular financing vehicle these days, a SPAC, in July 2021.
Lucid doesn’t boast Amazon or Ford as backers, but they don’t need to, when they have the endlessly deep pockets of the Saudi government. The Public Investment Fund, which is the sovereign investment fund of Saudi Arabia, invested in Lucid in 2019 and earlier this year the Government of Saudi Arabia announced a plan to purchase a minimum of 50,000 (with a contingency to go to 100,000) vehicles from Lucid over a ten-year period.
With purchase orders in the pipeline and serious money backing, you’d think it would be clear skies for Lucid, but this year has proved challenging as chip shortages have cut their already small manufacturing output almost in half.
The Lucid Air is positioned as a high-performance luxury vehicle, and its CEO and CTO, Peter Rawlinson, is keen to also position the company as a complement, not a direct competitor, to Tesla in the marketplace. This might have to do with the fact that Rawlinson was formerly VP of Engineering and Chief Engineer of the Model S when at Tesla.
The Air has various editions that range from 480hp to 1111hp and gets you from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds. All the editions are all-wheel drive.
It was that experience that helped guide the Air to becoming Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 2022, despite being a new model car. This is an honor that has never been bestowed on another vehicle.
The Air currently holds the title for greatest mileage on a single charge (517 miles) and also has the fastest recharge time for its batteries.
Despite the interesting developments going on for Rivian and Lucid, these are still companies delivering in the tens of thousands of vehicles, while Tesla in 2021 delivered almost 1M.
What’s interesting is that EVs are no longer a fringe idea, but something that all manufacturers are invested in. Whether electricity or hydrogen or some other technology is better performance-wise or “sustainable” isn’t really the argument these days, as “shiny object syndrome” has almost everyone mesmerized. People can’t help like feeling they’re living in the future when they hear the spaceship-like sound of an EV passing by.