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New EV initiative in the USA .



Rivian is a new player in the electric vehicle market, but this company has been quietly going about development of an electric SUV and a ute for the past nine years.

Rivian has taken over a former Mitsubishi car plant in Illinois.

The reveal at the November 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show coincided with opening of the company’s order books and US-market deliveries are planned for 2020.

Rivian vehicles are designed around a purpose-built platform chassis that is, in effect, a stressed battery box.Battery packs are available in 105kWh (370km range); 135kWh (480km range) and 640km range) sizes.

Battery charging can be done at 160kW fast-charge stations or home- and depot-based 11kW overnight chargers.

Drive is via four wheel motors with a combined power output between 300kW and 560kW, so performance won’t be an issue. The Rivian is claimed capable of a 0-100km/h time around three seconds, with a top speed of 200km/h.

Claimed payload of the Rivian R1T ute is only 800kg, but towing capability is five tonnes, so it seems to be aimed at the USA’s town-pickup and towing market.

There is a front bin, plus a transverse bin behind the rear seats, in addition to a 1400mm-long cargo tub.

Air suspension at all four corners means the Rivian’s ground clearance can vary between 240mm and 360mm.

“The R1T will launch with a robust hardware suite with multiple modalities including camera, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and a high precision GPS coupled with high-definition maps,” the company’s press kit said.

“This hardware enables ‘Level 3’ (hands off the wheel and eyes off the road) autonomy for highway operation.

“Beyond the highway Level 3, the vehicle will have a range of self-driving features focused on enabling active lifestyles.”

The first release will be the ute, which has a RRP around US$70,000, less federal and state tax incentives for EVs that could chip up to 10 grand off that.

Yes, even Trump’s USA has EV incentives, as do many developed countries, but not ScoMo’s coal-addicted Australia, of course.