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I enjoyed reading this review of a pre-production R1T. Has some nice photos.



They really liked the gear tunnel, which is one of my favorite parts of this truck. They mentioned using the flip down doors to the tunnel as seats.

I'm not an off-roader, so I can't judge whether or not they really worked the truck. I thought maybe some of the Jeep enthusiasts here could comment.
 

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Rivian is the first company I know of to completely jettison the entire architecture/platform model to return to body-on-frame, though it's evolved into a “skateboard” nomenclature. Basically, the “frame” in this case includes the powertrain and possibly the batteries. The tops can vary. The van top, the truck top, they could even do a sports-car top, but their plant will be busy pumping out 200,000 Amazon vans for quite a while!

Rivian deserves credit for really going after environmental impact; those Teslas aren't going to move the dial, but replacing 200,000 commercial vans sure will. (Not just the gas mileage of vans vs cars, but also the stop and go nature of delivery, and the "working eight to sixteen hours per day" aspect of it.) Delivery vans were the last vehicles to leave electricity for diesel and gasoline.
 

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In order to move American's view on electrics, one of the mainstream truck manufacturers will probably end up doing that. A large chunk of truck owners don't care about the environment. But if Ford starts cranking out electric F-150s that have a 400 mile range, that can be charged from your house, they might look at it differently. Rivian will sell some trucks, but it will be an uphill battle. Ram, Chevy and Ford will not give up their market.
 

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Ford's pickups are Rivians... so they benefit either way. GM is the real option to Rivian, unless Ram has something hidden away, which seems unlikely. That said, I don't think BEVs are the 2020-2029 dominant species; I think that will be hybrids. Electric is superior for bad commutes, deliveries, and sports cars, but has some real drawbacks for the moment in other areas. Hybrid gives you the best of both worlds, for the most part, and when done well (Pacifica, if we ignore reliability).

What's more, though people have pointed out that hybrids are more complicated, the extra parts are apparently not the ones that cause problems, if the programming is good — Toyota has not had any reliability disasters in their hybrids, but every other gasoline-car manufacturer has had disaster gasoline cars, and Tesla has disaster electric cars. If simplicity was the only factor in reliability, the Model T would be more reliable than the early Dodge Bros cars and today's cars alike - and it sure wasn't. The Tesla would be more reliable than the Corolla (it sure isn't).
 

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Dave, I agree that for the near future, hybrids make more sense. But I see nothing from the manufacturers that they see it that way. They seem to be of the mindset to plow ahead to all electric. I don't think Americans are any where near that point yet.
 

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Dave, I agree that for the near future, hybrids make more sense. But I see nothing from the manufacturers that they see it that way. They seem to be of the mindset to plow ahead to all electric. I don't think Americans are any where near that point yet.
They want to be on magazine covers, I think. Americans are slowly growing into it, as well - Tesla sold six figures last year, I think. Admittedly each car was sold at a loss, but that might not be true for 2020 or 2021.
 

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In our capitalist society, Tesla IMHO will eventually be taken over by an existing automaker. Take your pick on which one. They aren't a threat yet, but as the technology gets better and better, someone will be waiting for a misstep, then bam, they get scooped up.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
In our capitalist society, Tesla IMHO will eventually be taken over by an existing automaker. Take your pick on which one. They aren't a threat yet, but as the technology gets better and better, someone will be waiting for a misstep, then bam, they get scooped up.
Who could possibly do it? Right now, of all automakers on the planet, Tesla is the largest by market capitalization and it's not even close. In fact, Tesla's market cap is basically double that of the second largest automaker Toyota. Here is a google sheet showing updated automaker market caps. I guess if Tesla's stock plummets by 95% it could happen, but their stock price seems to defy all financial laws.

FCA's market cap is ~$26 Billion; PSA's is ~$16 Billion; Tesla's market cap is $380 Billion!
 

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They want to be on magazine covers, I think. Americans are slowly growing into it, as well - Tesla sold six figures last year, I think. Admittedly each car was sold at a loss, but that might not be true for 2020 or 2021.
Tesla did sell six figures last year... Roughly 195k last year in the US, and almost 229k this year through the end of September according to goodcarbadcar.
 

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Yup. The capitalist system worked fine for Tesla, though — ha ha — they were actually boosted by the [removed] system as well. They were part of the government subsidies for solar and electric car makers. I read a report somewhere that the program made a profit in the end, not unlike TARP. (Is TARP right? There are too many acronyms.) I've given up on being ideologically pure... it doesn't work. Theories of economics are just theories of economics. If any could be proven, it wouldn't be economics, it would be physics, and there would still be people saying, “It's not really proven, just supported by evidence under these particular conditions.”

Anyway... point is... there's a growing market for electric cars. Like I said, though, evidence is that the market is only where electric makes sense: extremely fast cars (does any Tesla fear being outrun by a 5.7 Hemi Challenger?), commercial delivery vehicles, and possibly other commercial-use cases.

The vast market of daily drivers will still be far more economically served by regular gasoline vehicles and, more so, by hybrid-electrics. If I wasn't wedded to manual transmissions, hybrids would be my best bet. The added cost isn't too high for most of them, and the benefit is quite large in traffic — and traffic is where most people use most of their fuel, even if most of their actual driving is highway. (Because of the way things work, which is distorted by our using mpg instead of gallons/mile... or, if we wanted to be sensible, ounces/mile? or even better, ml/km).
 

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Go watch "Long Way Up" if you want to see how the pre-production Rivian Truck does travelling from
Ushuaia in Argentina through South and Central America to Los Angeles.
 
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