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All You Need to Know About Rivian's Design Center and Giant EV Battery Pack

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【Summary】Electric vehicle startup Rivian is targeting an ambitious all-electric driving range of 400 miles for the upcoming R1T electric pickup truck and here’s how the company aims to do it.

Manish Kharinta    May 19, 2019 8:12 PM PT
All You Need to Know About Rivian's Design Center and Giant EV Battery Pack

The first vehicle from electric adventure vehicle manufacturer Rivian is slated to go on sale next year. The company's first offering will be a battery-powered electric pickup truck that the company says will offer an impressive 400 miles of all-electric driving range.

Although it's an ambitious claim, the electric adventure vehicle startup is not wasting any time in working to make it happen. A couple of weeks ago, Rivian secured another permit allowing it to continue to outfit a former Mitsubishi assembly plant in Normal, Illinois to build its R1T electric truck.

Rivian purchased shuttered facility for $16 million in 2017 after Mitsubishi ended production at the 2.6 million-square-foot plant in 2015 after years of declining sales.

However, before production and sales of the R1T pickup begins, the company needs to retool, hire and train employees and technicians at the Illinois factory.

It seems like Rivian has a lot on its plate considering its 17-month self-imposed deadline. However, Rivian plans to rehire some of the former Mitsubishi employees in order to reduce the training time required.

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The Rivian R1T electric pickup truck

Rivian's engineering and design center can also be credited for bringing some glory back to the Motor City, as its R&D facility is based out of suburban Detroit. The company also confirmed that it is in the process of partnering with global suppliers to source reliable parts to ensure their instantaneous availability and efficiency.

To make sure that Rivian delivers to its impressive 400-mile range, the company has confirmed that it will be equipping R1T with the world's biggest EV battery pack.

The battery pack in the electric R1T pickup will consist of 7,776 individual cells. For comparison, the 85 kWh battery pack in the Tesla Model S contains 7,104 individual cells.

This is one of the reasons why Rivian is partnering up with trusted global suppliers, since even more established automakers are facing difficulties while sourcing batteries from mostly Asian suppliers including LG Chem and Panasonic.

Another area of focus for Rivian is developing a reliable thermal management system (TMS) to keep cool such a large battery pack, which has time and again proved to be a challenge for even for Tesla.

Rivian boasts of a team of prominent auto industry veterans, and the automaker is confident it will come up with a sustainable TMS in this short amount of time.

Rivian recently secured a $500 million investment from Ford Motor Co, along with an additional investment from tech giant Amazon to develop its electric models, including the R1S SUV.

Rivian is preparing to begin testing of the R1T pickup truck sometime this summer, including crash testing by the The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is scheduled around the same time.


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