RUMOUR HAS IT
Rivian reveals radical electric concepts
US start-up showcases attention-grabbing pollution-free SUV and bakkie
Rivian, a US start-up, revealed all-electric concepts of a bakkie and an SUV at the LA Auto Show. The company says it can match the acceleration of a supercar with a 0-100km/h time of 2.7 seconds, but can also wade through a river or climb the side of a mountain. Yeah, that will grab people’s attention.
Ken Shuman, the company’s chief communications officer, said it was founded in 2009 by Robert Scaringe, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then he has amassed funding of $500m, even buying an old Mitsubishi assembly plant in Illinois in the US in 2017. That plant is being refurbished to produce Rivian vehicles.
“We are at a place where we’ve got things ready to go,” Shuman said. That’s impressive because a few days before the show, no one had ever heard of the company. But Shuman says that was how they wanted it.
“We were a stealth project for nine years,” he says. They even stealthily poached McLaren Automotive’s executive programme director Mark Vinnels, who was involved in all its new road cars from the MP4-12C to the latest 720S.
The designs are certainly unique, both inside and out. So too is some of the technology with the company using what it calls its Skateboard platform to package batteries and systems while quad-motors generate 147kW at each wheel with an overall torque figure of up to 522kW and overall torque up to 1,120Nm depending on battery packs.
Pricing starts at $61,500 with deliveries due to start in 2020. Deposits of $1,000 each are being taken.
“A lot of people in the EV [electric vehicle] space have done it wrong,” says Shuman. Now we’ll all be watching to see how Rivian plans to do it right.
Audi’s latest electric stunner
Audi’s fully electric e-tron GT concept made its global debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opened to the public on November 30. Volume production is scheduled to start in late 2020.
The Audi e-tron GT concept is an electric four-door coupé with two separate electric motors fitted on the front and rear axles, for a total system power of 434kW. Torque is transferred to the wheels via Quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Audi promises acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds and a top speed regulated at 240km/h.
The manufacturer claims a range of more than 400km for this EV, with a battery that can be charged via a cable or contactless induction charging.
The project is expected to enter production at the end of 2020, making it the third all-electric vehicle marketed by Audi, following the e-tron SUV and the e-tron Sportback Coupé.
Porsche’s best-roads app
Porsche wants to take drivers to some of the world’s best driving roads, and now, there’s an app for that.
The brand has introduced its new Porsche Road Trip app for iOS, which lists the world’s best roads for drivers to experience. So far, Porsche has mapped roads in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the US. The company plans to add more roads (and possibly some in SA?)
Users can select featured routes, plan their trip, and set off to experience the roads. Planned trips include ways to book lodging and reservations at nearby establishments after a high-adrenalin blast through a scenic mountain pass. The app also suggests lookout points for the best photo opportunities.
The navigation system is built to call out every bend, twist, and corner to prepare drivers.
It isn’t just for Porsche owners, and any iPhone user can download the app. Porsche plans to build the function into the all-new 911 Carerra’s infotainment system.