rivian, Rivian R1T

Rivian files patent for tailgate with two methods for lowering

When it enters production in 2020, Rivian’s R1T battery-electric pickup truck might have a different tailgate design to what you’d normally find on a pickup.

A patent filed by Rivian in the World Intellectual Property Organization database shows a tailgate with two methods for lowering.

One method is your standard motion where the tailgate rotates around hinges at the edge of the bed, allowing it to drop down 90 degrees. The downside of this is that you need to arch over to reach items in the bed, since the tailgate prevents you from getting closer. It also requires more space behind the vehicle in order to lower.

Diagram from Rivian’s patent for “Swing and drop tailgate”

The second method sees the tailgate swing down vertically via a linkage. This solves the issue of the first method, though it raises the issue of what happens if there is a trailer being hitched. Rivian said the design could also feature latches that may constrain or prevent motion of the tailgate, presumably for a situation like this.

Some pickups sold overseas already feature tailgates that can rotate a full 180 degrees. Rivian also showed such a design on the R1T when the pickup debuted at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. We should remind you that just because Rivian has filed a patent for an alternative tailgate design doesn’t mean we’ll see it on the R1T when the truck enters production, as companies often file patents simply to protect a design.

When it comes to alternative tailgate designs, the prize undoubtedly goes to Tesla with its Cybertruck. The oddball pickup truck unveiled in November featured a tailgate that can not only rotate downward but can also extend so that it becomes a ramp, upon which you could roll up recreational vehicles like dirt bikes or even an electric quad that Tesla might offer as an option for the Cybertruck.

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla Cybertruck

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Lincoln tipped to use Rivian platform for electric SUV due in 2022

Ford in April announced a $500 million investment in Rivian and plans to co-develop a vehicle based on the EV startup’s skateboard-style platform.

Lincoln could ultimately be the beneficiary of the deal, as Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter, reported on Tuesday that Ford will use Rivian’s platform for a Lincoln electric SUV due in mid-2022. It’s something we’ve speculated ever since Ford announced it was going to use Rivian’s platform.

Rivian electric car platform

The platform is a highly modular, battery-electric design that debuted in Rivian’s own R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, both of which are due in production in late 2020. It fits batteries ranging up to 180 kilowatt-hours in size and electric drive systems capable of delivering over 700 horsepower.

Rivian’s R1S with the 180-kwh battery is claimed to deliver over 400 miles of range, pointing to potential class-leading specs for any Lincoln using the platform. When it comes to charging, Rivian has designed its batteries to handle charging rates of up to 160 kilowatts. This enables approximately 200 miles of range to be added in 30 minutes, according to the company.

Rivian R1S

Rivian R1S

Reuters‘ same sources said Lincoln is planning at least two other electric SUVs: a compact offering due in late 2021 or early 2022 and a mid-size offering due in 2023. We’ve heard that at least one of these SUVs will be built at Ford’s Flat Rock plant, located south of Detroit, which is being transformed into a hub for future electric and self-driving cars, as well as the Mustang.

Ford in July said it will also use Volkswagen Group’s MEB modular, battery-electric platform for at least one model, and possibly more. Ford is also developing EV platforms of its own. One just debuted in the 2021 Mustang Mach-E, and Ford is also developing an electric F-150 expected on sale in late 2021. Stay tuned.

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Lincoln electric SUV will ride on Rivian’s ‘skateboard’ platform

DETROIT — A battery-powered Lincoln SUV, due in mid-2022, will be the first Ford Motor Co. vehicle built on a custom electrified chassis that resembles a skateboard, which was developed by Ford-backed startup Rivian, according to several people familiar with the program.

The all-wheel-drive Lincoln SUV could compete against Rivian’s R1S, an electric sport utility vehicle slated to go into production in early 2021 that will be priced from $72,500. Both models will use Rivian’s so-called skateboard, a flexible platform that combines electric motors, batteries, controls and suspension.

On Tuesday, Ford declined to comment. Rivian did not respond to a request for comment.

The new Lincoln, which carries the internal program code U787, also could compete with premium offerings from others, including General Motors Co <GM.N>, which plans to introduce at least two new electric SUVs by 2023, one for Cadillac and one that could revive the Hummer name, sources have said.

Ford invested $500 million in Rivian this year and plans to help it begin production next year at a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois.

When Ford made the investment, it said it would use Rivian’s skateboard to develop its own electric vehicle, but did not disclose details.

It is not clear where Ford intends to build the Lincoln SUV, which will be among the first of several battery-powered utility vehicles planned for Ford’s premium brand in North America and China, according to supplier sources familiar with those programs who asked not to be identified.

Ford expects to introduce a compact Lincoln electric crossover in late 2021 or early 2022 and a mid-size companion in 2023, the sources said.

The U.S. auto industry plans to invest billions of dollars over the next few years to build all-electric pickups and SUVs, sectors of the market that have been among the most profitable, especially for Detroit-based automakers.

But analysts have questioned whether demand from consumers and commercial customers will come close to matching production.

Founded in 2009, Rivian has raised $1.9 billion from investors, including e-commerce giant Amazon, which has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian. The first Amazon vans will be built in Normal and are to be delivered in 2021.

Ford aims to sell an electric F-series pickup in late 2021, sources have said. It also will offer the electric Mustang Mach E SUV next year as part of plans to invest $11.5 billion by 2022 electrifying its vehicles.

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bollinger, Lordstown Motors, rivian, tesla cybertruck, workhorse

8 electric pickup manufacturers may be a few too many, analysts say

DETROIT — Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his spacy Cybertruck have ignited a frenzy over electric pickups, and at least seven other U.S. automakers expect to build new battery-powered trucks by 2021.

The question is who will buy them.

Companies ranging from General Motors and Ford to startup Lordstown Motors have said they plan to introduce electric pickups over the next two years, and are scheduled to build up to 250,000 a year by 2024, according to industry analysts.

Sales of those battery trucks, however, may not exceed 70,000 a year, even when many of the plants hit full production, according to AutoForecast Solutions analyst Sam Fiorani.

If demand falls that far short of production targets, “there are going to be a lot of auto execs crying in their beer,” predicts IHS Markit analyst Joe Langley.

Musk indicated on Twitter that Tesla has received 200,000 reservations, requiring $100 deposits, within 72 hours after unveiling its Cybertruck, and plans to build up to 50,000 a year. The wedge-shaped pickup is expected to go into production in late 2021, and to start selling for a price of just under $40,000.

The total U.S. market for conventional pickups powered by internal combustion engines is just over 3 million.

Many of the EV pickups are being touted by newcomers, including Bollinger Motors and Hercules Electric Vehicles, both based in the Detroit area, and Atlis Motor Vehicles, in Mesa, Arizona. Projected prices range from $45,000 to $125,000.

Lordstown Motors has a licensing deal with Ohio-based Workhorse to build an electric pickup called Endurance at GM’s former assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Lordstown executives have said they plan to start production in late 2020, with prices starting at $52,500.

Perhaps the most important new electric pickup is the R1T from well-funded newcomer Rivian, the Michigan startup that includes Ford and Amazon among its investors.

The R1T is slated to go into production late next year at a former Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, Illinois, and will be priced from $69,000. In its first full year of production, Rivian plans to build about 25,000 pickups, but is installing capacity to build up to 260,000 vehicles, including a companion electric SUV and an electric delivery van for Amazon.

GM and Ford both expect to begin building premium electric pickups in late 2021 at Detroit-area assembly plants. Each company expects annual electric truck production to hit around 40,000 by 2024, analysts said.

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