Rivian off-road rally performance car could follow electric pickup, SUV


Rivian R1T electric pickup concept

Rivian R1T electric pickup concept

Rivian announced a new electric pickup and SUV at the LA Auto Show—but apparently the startup electric automaker is so full of ideas it couldn't resist teasing yet another plan.

Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe told British auto magazine Autocar that the company plans a third model that will take advantage of all the power and all-wheel drive that the company's pickup and SUV boast, but with a sporty twist: an off-road rally car.

The new model could share the R1T pickup and R1S SUV's four electric motors producing a total of 750 horsepower and 820 pound-feet of torque, as well as the smaller of its two battery packs, containing 105-kilowatt-hours, to save weight compared with the larger 180-kwh pack. (Not to rule out the larger pack, but even the smaller battery could give a smaller rally car a range in the neighborhood of 300 miles, driven conservatively.) 

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Scaringe told Autocar that the company's third model will have a shorter wheelbase than the R1S SUV but have similar ground clearance for off-road capability.

Rivian has developed a "skateboard" chassis that includes the cars' structure, its battery pack, motors, and power electronics.

READ THIS: Rivian R1S electric SUV goes family style with 7 seats, 410-mile range

Scaringe says the company plans on selling the skateboard architecture to other automakers as long as their products don't compete directly with Rivian's. One rumored potential customer could be Pininfarina, which is launching its own line of cars, starting with a $3 million supercar. Its second model is slated to be a luxury SUV, which could use Rivian's skateboard chassis.

Rivian will buy battery cells, but will assemble its own packs at its factory in Illinois when its cars go into production, Scaringe told Green Car Reports. These battery packs would likely be part of the chassis architecture that Rivian could sell to other automakers.

CHECK OUT: Mitsubishi Evo rally sedan morphs into electric crossover concept

The Autocar report is the first indication that the company also plans to build a third model of its own off the architecture and that it has considerable flexibility in at least the wheelbase of the machine. The R1T pickup has a wheelbase almost 15 inches longer than that on the R1S SUV. Such a rally-cross car would likely have a significantly shorter wheelbase.

The Rivian rally car (the R1R?), would be similar in concept to the Mitsubishi e-Evolution concept, another electric off-road rally car shown at the LA show. 

The R1T and R1S are scheduled to go on sale in 2020 and 2021, so the new rally car would appear sometime later.

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