Below is a portion of Inverse’s interview with Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe. We asked the founder of the electric transportation company who is driving those vehicles in ten years’ time. The first Rivian vehicles — a pickup truck and SUV — are scheduled for delivery to customers in 2020.
Inverse: It’s the year 2021. Who’s driving a Rivian?
Scaringe: Who’s driving a Rivian? Well, hopefully I’m driving a Rivian at that point. All jokes aside, the goal for what we’re creating with this product is to pull people out of some of the [vehicles] that may be traditionally compared to our vehicle, like a pickup. But much more importantly, we want to give people an option. They may be in a BMW or a Land Rover and are looking for something that still can fit their family and fit their gear. [They may want to] take the kids to the beach for the day, go with their friends to their folks’ for the day, and do it without compromise.
That’s without compromise with regards to efficiency, without compromise with regards to comfort and on-road capability, and then of course, without compromise in terms of the level of function and utility that’s been packaged in something that’s still very desirable.
With this first product, or I should say these first two products, the truck and the SUV, their purpose is really in no small part to also establish the brand. To establish the brand, we have to deliver a level of performance and capability that’s completely unheard of in the market today.
We have to do things that are, in a way, exceedingly good. So acceleration is exceedingly good; off-road capabilities are extraordinarily good. The on-road capability and ride and handling of the vehicle is unlike any truck or SUV on the market today. I would say, more than anything else, that’s a requirement for us.
We have to give people a reason to pick Rivian over established players and over existing internal combustion offerings.
Over time, we’ll launch additional products that take the same essence of our brand and the same mission of enabling people with active lifestyles to go on adventures, take trips with their pets, with their kids, and with their gear. But [they can] do it in vehicles that may be smaller in terms of form factor and with that, lower in terms of price point.
Inverse: Can I ask you about the year 2029? What’s Rivian known for that it’s not known for this year?
Scaringe: Along with the things I just said about these first vehicles establishing our brand, we really are striving to position ourselves as the company that enables and promotes adventure. And when I say ‘adventure,’ we wrongly think of someone climbing up the side of a mountain. Adventure is really for all. It’s everything that we do in life. It’s the things we take pictures of, it’s the things we tell stories about.
We want to be a brand that helps drive and enable that. Of course, the vehicle to do some of that will be a big part of that, but the ecosystem that we set up around the vehicles to facilitate making it easier — whether it’s go to the park for the day, go to the beach for the day, spend a day at the lake with the family, a week-long road trip, all those types of activities — we as a brand want to really help drive.
When you think in 2029 about going and visiting your friends in upstate New York for the day or for the week, we want you to think immediately, without question, that the way you’re going to do that is with Rivian. Now whether you own that Rivian or whether you’re subscribing to that Rivian or whether it’s a service, that’s a secondary point; but we want you to think about Rivian for that trip.
This article has been edited for brevity and clarity.