Rivian Electric Truck Spied: On Sale Late 2019


Looks like a Ford F-150, but don’t be deceived.

With a range of up to 400 miles, this Rivian electric truck could be a smashing success, provided it comes in at a decent price point.

Even more intriguing perhaps is that Rivian will follow up this truck with the launch of a big, three-row electric SUV.

Back to the truck though for now.

The pickup truck is expected to cost somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000. Yes, that’s a wide spread, but trucks are sold with such numerous options and packages that it’s to be expected.

It should go on sale in late 2019 as a Model Year 2020 offering.

There’s no word at this point in time as to what the exterior will look like when complete, but we know that the Ford F-150 body won’t make it to production.

Range is expected to be up to 400 miles, though we suspect a couple battery options may be offered, with perhaps a lower-range version coming at a later date and cheaper price.

Rivian officially says that this truck will debut at the LA Auto Show this November, but InsideEVs has a hunch it will be seen sooner.

Our spy photog adds this to the convo:

This early mule version of their proposed pickup truck uses a stand-in Ford F-150 body over Rivian’s skateboard-like electric propulsion system. Only a charging cable from the front gives it away as an EV.

R&D is currently being conducted in Plymouth Michigan, while battery technology is being developed in Irvine California.

Production will take place at Rivian’s former-Mitsubishi plant in Illinois.

12 photos

Images: Spiedbilde

Categories: Rivian, Spy Photos, Trucks

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61 Comments on "Rivian Electric Truck Spied: On Sale Late 2019"

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It’s nice that there will be at least one electric pick-up available for sale . . . . but . . . Aren’t we past the conversion stage yet?

It does seem odd that a manufacturer that makes a couple models of EV’s won’t make the effort into electrifying their biggest selling vehicle. It’s not as if $90k pickup trucks are unheard of anyhow.

Crazy but true !

That’s because when somebody pays $90,000 for a pickup, they expect performance and I don’t mean 0-60 times. They expect to not to have to stop and recharge every 200 miles, or every 125- 150 miles if towing a trailer. They expect to have roughly the same performance in the dead of winter too. They don’t want to have to bundle up with extra coats to forgo running the heater either.

If some may think this truck would be perfect for contractors that they * think * don’t drive very far, well contractors don’t pay $90,000 for their trucks. They pay a lot less and sometimes the up-fitted utility bodies will raise the cost higher, but I am pretty sure that this pickup will come with a standard bed and any specialized bed would be the usual tens of thousands extra.

It’s not as if they don’t offer dozens of different model F150’s. What’s one more. Maybe there are enough people who don’t haul anything or tow anything with their pickup trucks. I see them on the freeway everyday and their trucks look immaculate.

One thing about BEV pickups is that given the power requirements and the relatively large pack capacity that they will need, the heater/AC is going to have a much less noticeable impact on the range! LOL! Go ahead and blast that heat, it won’t take much juice compared to pushing that behemoth at speed!
Aero? What is Aero? That CdA is going to be a brute.

Heating the cab and components of an electric car takes 65% of the winter losses, and the cad of a one row pickup is smaller.. But did you know that an ICE loses as much as 20% in Winter?

THIS is usually not considered and makes a hell of a difference. Winter losses aren’t so important that we are told compared to ICE vehicles. And we should also consider that with larger batteries the loss difference is shrinking fast, because the losses of an ICE driven vehicle will never improve.

The difference is 20% of a vehicle with a 600 mile range still leaves it 480 miles. 30% of a vehicle with 300-400 miles of range leaves it 210-280 miles.

That said if this truly had 400 miles of range then it will be the first EV that is practical for me! Bet it won’t come cheap though. 🙁

Heating the cabin and battery with a heat pump helps

Most of the pickups here in Texas are owned by urban cowboys. These pickups are essentially a fashion statement. I would bet that no more than 20% of the pickups on the road are real work trucks. If the price is reasonable, plug-in pickups will work for commuting cowboys.

While that may be true that doesn’t mean that urban cowboy doesn’t tow, or haul, or take it off road at least a couple of times a year. Many may not, but you’ll probably be surprised how many drive a truck not just because they like trucks, but because they’re a practical vehicle. If it can’t do what they want it to for those couple of times a year then they may as well just buy another vehicle type.

Just because they’re not “real work trucks” doesn’t mean they don’t need real truck capacity.

What a Troll.
Performance? Electric will have the torque of an F350 diesel.
And if they get 250-350 MPC, even at say $85K, they will DESTROY regular ICE pickups.

If you think that COntractors do not buy 90K trucks, well, you are obviously not in the construction field.
Yes, for running around between sites, it will be a top of the line F150 at 40-50K, OR a middle F250 at around 50-70K. BUT, for the work vehicles that are hauling between sites, it will be the F350s with diesels. And typical distance will be within a large city. IOW, 60-100 Miles MAX. Most contractors do not go far. They will typically operate in a 20-40 miles radius, at max.

As to the bed, lets wait and see.

I made a post in the article about the Ford transit about this, pretty much agreeing with you. It makes more sense to aim for the Superduty market than the F150/1500 market at the moment. GVWR and price are likely to be more in line for a vehicle with similar performance. You can fit far more batteries in for a decent range (200-300 miles of towing for example) without sacrificing payload. That said, a 1500 based truck with more torque than an F350 diesel is great, but that’s pretty irrelevant if the tow rating is still 10,000lb, but instead of 200-300 miles of range it’s only 100 because they can’t fit more than 100kWh of battery in due to weight issues. If they only need to tow 10,000lb for 20-40 miles then they don’t need a Superduty or the torque of the large diesels. There’s still a decent market for a shorter range, lower performance truck however. Most truck owners don’t need huge torque (especially fleets), and many fleets don’t need vehicles with large ranges. City based utility companies would probably be happy with a lower power, smaller range $50k truck. They’d make the $20k extra back in fuel savings… Read more »

I’m pretty sure this is just a test mule – i.e.: a body sitting on the skateboard chassis. It’s to test the drivetrain, not the body/interior.

I hope Ford doesn’t threaten a Lawsuit .

WHy would they? If you bought the vehicle, it is yours to do with as you see fit. Ford has NO say in the matter.

The ground clearance seem low to me.

Not really a conversion. Sounds like the platform/frame is from Rivian, bu they bolted on an F150 body.

The article says that the Ford body is just a test mule. Their truck for sale will have its own body. Nobody, except a silicon valley cowboy wannabe will pay $90k for one of these.

As a truck owner who drives a 24 year old Toyota T-100 regular cab by choice I wish someone would build a new small/mid size EV or PHEV work truck.

The F150 shell is just a shell. Hopefully, they will be stamping their own, and in a better fashion.

I wonder if Ford is willing to sell the truck without the engine or transmission, or if it’s too much effort for them to do that so Rivian has to buy the truck complete and remove the ICE stuff. I’m sure that they can sell those for good money which they may apply to the cost of the truck.

That would be a highly compromised vehicle. Rivian, I believe, is making a ground up BEV design. The F Series body is just camouflage.

I don’t think it’s merely camouflage. It’s typical, in the auto industry, when building an entirely new vehicle, to start with an existing one and modify it as necessary to create a prototype. Such a hybrid build is called a “mule” or “development mule”.


More likely Rivian bought a slightly used F150, avoided paying the high cost for a new vehicle — all those modifications have voided most or all of a new vehicle warranty anyway — and avoided alerting Ford to its plans.

yup. They probably bought several of the exact same model/year, and are modifying the frame a great deal. From there, the entire drive train was dropped out of the used vehicles and the electric test models were put in and are being ran around.

Why keep the frame at all. It’s body on frame construction. Just take the drivetrain and frame off (or more precisely just take the body off the drivetrain and frame) and stick it on their own battery based frame.

The original frame is just dead weight and in the way if the Rivian sled is up to scratch.

They need to buy the truck Minus power train & running Gear at Wholesale . If they buy the entire truck they will Lose their Shirt , Pants & Underwear .. ..

No, it makes little sense in buying the body/frame from Ford. Those are the CHEAP parts in a truck.

Makes little sense for Rivian to do that.
The frame and body of a truck are relatively inexpensive. The real costs in them tend to be the drivetrain.

Body on frame vehicles are easy to change the body on, or the frame. Great way to test without letting people know you are doing it.

Thank you, Eric!

How wonderful to see some spy photos of a Rivian mule; and photos which are actually close-up enough to see some details, unlike most telephoto lens “spy photos” taken at some abandoned airport!

(I put “spy photos” in scare quotes there because I suspect many or most of those telephoto-lens photos are the result of an auto maker tipping off paparazzi in advance.)

Are we sure that’s Rivin and not Ford?

Rivian , Very Good thinking, Excellent Point !

I too am wondering just how the photographer knew that’s a Rivian prototype. I guess we’d have to ask Spiedbilde, whoever that is.

Yeah, what’s so say this isn’t Ford’s plug in pickup??

I’m inclined to say it’s not Ford, considering the completely different underside.

Hope this goes to market!

So Rivian was founded in 2009… What was it doing all that time? In Tesla years it would be equivalent to Tesla circa 2013, when they pretty much were already done with Roadster, had model S in production for couple of years, and growing supercharger infrastructure.

And not even a teaser of the body design?

Their info video consists only of animated dots and lines and something about trip to mountains, but i got dizzy because of the lines and dots pretty soon to really understand the narration… some sort of hypnotic trance effect


I agree though there’s a huge unaddressed suv/pickup niche as of now, currently unaddressed by Tesla. Well, we’ll see.

They were developing cars. Then they saw the car market crashing and decided to change strategy and go after trucks.
They’ve only been working on the truck for about 3 years, which for a completely new platform with limited resources, they’re not doing to bad.
Go to their website. They have a body and other tidbits.

Taking forever. Another Faraday or Faraway

They own a factory that is undergoing renovation at this time.
Note that Chinese companies can get billions from the Chinese gov or from their banks in a trivial manner.
OTOH, American lenders have become INSANELY STUPID and are focused pretty much on software.

That’s not stupid. Software — unlike manufacturing — is where the US actually still has an advantage.

Tesla had two huge advantages, starting with Elon Musk, who is apparently better at attracting investor money than just about anyone else. And to put the Model S into production, Tesla applied for and received a DOE “green tech” government loan.

Rivian has gone about things far more quietly, in stealth mode. I’m not sure that DOE loan program is even available anymore. Rivian (originally “Mainstream Motors”) did get some funding from the State of Florida, which helped them build their original prototype, before they changed their name and moved to the current location. So far as I know, all funding since then has been from private investments.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking other companies are going to follow Tesla’s exact path to success. I think Tesla is very much an oddball.

what is sad is that all of these new companies would be smart to approach Tesla and make use of their set-up.
For example, a new company might get the full drivetrain from Tesla, including the charging and SC network, and use that as their base to get started. They can focus for several years on getting body, frame, interior, exterior manufacturing going. If smart, they would even focus on vehicles for USPO, FedEX, Walmart Delivery, etc. Why? Because it does not get any easier than that. Once going, they can expand to trucks, SUVs, etc while working on doing their own drivetrain.
This would enable an easy way to get started.

What a beautiful truck (OK I’m biased 😉 )

A few observations from a truck guy:
1 – that is very short (extended cab, short short box) – could be the mule for the SUV for which this would be a good wheelbase. Needs to be several feet longer to hit the meat of the pickup market, especially for the weekend warrior segment they are targeting as there are kids and toys to haul.
2 – the ground clearance is very low. The pot (bottom piece that the spring sits on) is really exposed. Hopefully there is an adjustable suspension and this is in squat mode. Or maybe they plan to put huge tires on it which could easily add 4-6 inches. Either option would be very good.
3 – CV joints (and their boots) are not the best solution for a truck with offroad intentions. Too much risk of tearing due to a branch or sapling puncturing it. Universal joints are a lot tougher. I’ll wait for the final design to see if they do a good job protecting it.

And its very unlikely to be a Ford mule – I would not expect them to change their suspension design that much.

They took a F truck and put their drive and battery tech in ti for testing purposes. I’m sure that they will design their own body when ready.

Just don’t steal it, OK? We all know this is your dream vehicle.

Thanks for your insightful comments! 🙂

Your point #1: I think that if they were trying to develop an SUV, they would have used an SUV as their test bed. Since they used a pickup, I think it’s most likely they’re developing a pickup, either a BEV or a PHEV. I’m guessing BEV because of the apparent lack of tailpipe on this mule.

Your point #2: I’m guessing that they had to lower the ground clearance to put in a battery pack under the existing floor. The production model will almost certainly have a higher floor, to give the truck better ground clearance. Keep in mind this pickup is only a prototype; a development mule.

Hopefully they didn’t rent the F150 like Mercedes did with the Model X they took apart and then reassembled.

Original SUVs were built on truck platforms. Just bolted on different bodies. So could be the same.

They might be using an F150 because it is cheaper than an SUV.

It’s a Ford

Agreed with all your points, That said I do wonder if the short bed on the Supercab is to do with cost – it’s also an XL, so they’ve got basically the cheapest new truck they could buy that isn’t a super short regular car (which may not have been an option as at a guess they’ll have a lot of analytical/EV function kit in the second row). Agreed, it’s extremely low ground clearance and coil spring rear suggests to me that it’s probably not meant to be a 4×4 version, although it may have AWD. Presumably they’ve taken the body off the frame so there should be lots of space to put the battery pack. Lifting it at a later date would change all the suspension geometries and seem a bit wasteful of the testing, The floor without the frame is flat on an F-150 so without intruding into the cab I’m not sure how you’re going to get more ground clearance without making the interior higher. That said, this could be an older sled design, with the production one being thinner. While coil springs can work (see Ram) they aren’t ideal for a Pickup carrying weight. Solid rear… Read more »

ah yeah thats a ford. pffff

Wonder how my F150 that was rented out for a Turo long-term rental is doing?

3cylinder 1.5lt 150+hp ICE motor with 250hp of electric drive and a 20kwhr battery would do just fine.

Or ditch the gasoline and go pure battery. REX is/was necessary until BEV is viable- we’re there now.

(“When will “then” be “now?” Soon..”)

it would make it more economically viable now however.

Can’t wait to see these Rivian vehicles. I have a feeling that they will be designed correctly and more importantly, priced correctly.
The one thing that I would REALLY love to see, is that they hook up with Tesla’s SC network. Musk/Tesla would be smart to hook up with these guys and get the truck industry moving quickly towards EVs. In fact, if Rivian can make use of Tesla’s drivetrain, such as the Charging platform, along with the SC network, I think that it would lower costs for all very quickly.

I like Workhorse W15 truck is better. It costs only $52,000 with $7000 rebate so final cost is: $45,000

Why doesn’t the rivian have an on board charging system like a strong alternator ?