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Let’s get an Electric ute in Australia ASAP! Why Rivian needs to launch down under

Australians buy ~210,000 new Utes per year. That’s 1 out of every 117 people in Australia buying a new Ute every year. If the same percentage of people bought Utes in America, that’d be 2.8 millions new sales per year. Currently they only manage a pultry 2.3 million.

So it’s clear, per person Australia buys even more Utes (or Pickup Trucks) than America, which is why the brand new Rivian company should bring their amazing looking R1T Truck down under.

We Love Our Utes

It’s no secret that we love our Utes here in Australia. Obviously, according to the above figures we love them even more than Americans do! We love them so much that last year Utes were actually the number one top selling vehicle type.

Representing nearly 20% of the entire market the number one seller was of course the Toyota HiLux followed up by the Ford Ranger. But what if Australians could buy an all electric Ute?

Enter Rivian, a startup founded by RJ Scaringe that has been in stealth mode since 2009. They have recently released a huge amount of details on their two new models that they plan on bringing to production, the R1T Truck and R1S SUV.

They aim to start production of the R1T Truck within 2 years at their already bought factory in Illinois. And while there have been a number of “EV Startups” coming out lately Rivian seem to be very well backed, very well developed and much further along than most others too.

The R1T Truck

The truck itself can really only be described as “all out ridiculous”. There are three different models that have different motor outputs and different battery configurations. These range from 300 – 562 kW for the motor power and 105, 135 and 180 kWh for the battery capacities.

It also has four motors, one for each wheel. These multiple, super powerful motors enable the amazing 0-60 mph time of 3 seconds and up to 14,000 Nm of torque. This is a 5.47 m long Ute that’s can tow up to 5,000 kg, seats 5… and can beat a 2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 to 100 km/h. That is just bonkers! Even the slowest model can do 0-60 in 4.9 seconds!

Launch It Down Under

With the specs that Rivian are quoting and them already taking reservation deposits I can’t imagine any Australian not wanting one of these bad boys. With more and more Electric Car Chargers rolling out everyday, by the time they are producing them in two years coverage will be near universal.

Rivian can and should prioritise Australia as their next big market after America. We buy more Utes per person than America does, we’re a wealthy nation with the charging infrastructure already in place to take advantage of their Trucks 160 kW fast-charging abilities and more and more Aussies are wanting to go all electric every day.

We’re also a nation that loves our technology and tearing it up in the mud off road. With our well deployed mobile coverage, tech savvy user base and great big open country we would make excellent use of all the features, especially it’s 650+ km range.

Absolutely Zero Competition

Along with the huge demand for Utes in Australia, a big benefit to Rivian selling their Ute here would be that there’s basically no competition and that’s not just because it’s all electric.

Even if you’re buying some of the most top of the line Utes like the Mercedes Benz X-Class, they’ll at best do 0-100 in 11.8 seconds. That’s almost four times slower acceleration and it’ll be sucking up about 8L/100 km’s of diesel when driving it normally.

Given diesel is about $1.60/L on average here and off-peak electricity is around 14c/kWh, that means that if you drive 15,000 km/year you’d save over $1,300 in fuel costs alone.

Add to this to the fact that the R1T  Truck can tow more (5,000 vs 3,500 kg), has power points to power tools for days (given the huge battery), has a built in air compressor, has an amazingly high tech interior and Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities and there’s nothing in site that even comes close.

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. This hardware enables “Level 3” (hands-off wheel and eyes off road) autonomy for highway operation.

A Plan For The Future

I’m sure Rivian for now are quite focused on the American side of things as well as just purely bringing their R1T Truck to production. However launching their truck here in Australia would be an excellent business move for them.

Often for new companies user demand, customer support as well as funding support are all critical for them to continue to succeed. A product that is publicly accepted as being high in demand and a supportive customer base goes a long way to encouraging investors to entrust a new company with their money. And make no mistake, building cars takes a lot of it!

So having two super Ute loving countries going crazy over your product is surely better than one. Not to mention that Rivian will no doubt be planning on expanding into other countries at some point anyway.

So we say make Australia top of that list!

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