As I’ve mentioned before, I’m something of an automotive packaging fetishist, which means I really, really appreciate a vehicle that really works to maximize its interior spaces well. Which is why I’ve been so taken with electric startup Rivian’s pickup concept, which leverages the up-and-coming skateboard-style EV chassis design to make a truck with a really staggering amount of storage all over the length of the vehicle. To really see what they did, I cornered a Rivian engineer at the New York Auto Show and had them tell me everything.
Unlike a conventional pickup, all of the Rivian’s drivetrain components are set low and into the chassis, with the battery pack forming the floor, and suspension/motor units front and rear. This means the whole length of the truck is available for people or cargo, allowing for a front trunk (a truck concept I was thinking about back in 2013, just saying), a full-size bed, and even more storage in between.
Here’s what the bare Rivian chassis looks like, from its booth display here at the auto show:
If you’ve seen Tesla’s platform or Volkswagen’s MEB platform, it’s quite familiar. We’re likely about to enter an age of very similar EV platform designs, and while such homogeneity would normally terrify me, the flexibility these platforms offer is so great I think it could be a good thing.
Watch the video to see how well you can design a truck when you have a pretty much blank canvas of space above the wheels. It’s impressive.
The trucks and SUVs Rivian wants to build will not be cheap, mostly because battery tech still isn’t cheap. They’re going to be in the $70,000 and up range, generally, but what really excites me is the hypothetical idea of a future version of this truck, stripped of its premium materials and gadgets and finery, leaving an incredibly flexible and usable work truck.
We’re not there yet, but these novel new truck designs are a great start.