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Startup Rivian plans electric pickup, SUV

by Ronan Glon

We\'ll see at least one this fall at the Los Angeles auto show.

We last wrote about electric car startup Rivian in December 2016 when it announced plans to buy a former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois. After 18 months of silence, the company has announced what it has in store for the future.

Rivian, like most automotive startups in recent memory, aims to make electric cars -- including some that drive themselves. It doesn't want to compete in the same space as Tesla, though. It's instead focusing its attention on the off-roader segment and its plans call for an initial product line made up of a pickup truck and an SUV called A1T and A1C, respectively.

Website Engadget got an early look at the A1T. It wasn't allowed to take photos, but it describes a truck that's closer in spirit to the Honda Ridgeline than to the Ford F-150. It also notes the truck looks like something you'd drive in Halo.

The A1T and the A1C share 91 percent of their components, according to the same report. Both ride on the same skateboard-style platform. The truck will be capable of driving through 3.6 feet of water, it will offer 14 inches of ground clearance, and it will be able to climb up 45-degree inclines. And yet, Rivian promises a 2.8-second zero-to-60 time and better handling than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. That's fighting talk.

Buyers will have several battery packs to choose from. The base model will come with an 80kWh pack that delivers up to 200 miles of range. More expensive variants will boast up to 450 miles on one charge and offer about 800 horsepower.

Pricing will range between $50,000 and $90,000, and production will take place in the aforementioned ex-Mitsubishi factory starting in 2020. We'll see at least one of Rivian's off-roaders this fall at the Los Angeles auto show.

So, what's next?

We'll keep a close eye on Rivian in the coming months. Its super truck sounds like a Ford Raptor on steroids, which could be awesome, but developing a car from scratch is a difficult and expensive process. Companies like Tesla, Faraday Future, Elio, and even Apple have all learned that in recent years.

Successfully building one takes even more time, effort, and money. Time will tell whether it can walk the walk.