Exclusive: Rivian to sell "carbon neutral" add-on with electric trucks
Rivian plans to begin selling a carbon neutral add-on with its luxury electric pickups and SUVs, CEO RJ Scaringe tells Axios.
Why it matters: The automaker is tapping into drivers' guilt around their carbon footprint to generate fresh revenue streams in the expensive electric vehicle industry.
Driving the news: Rivian this afternoon is announcing a commitment to buy 100 MW from an enormous planned solar plant in Kentucky.
- The automaker plans to use renewable energy credits generated by that plant to support a "carbon neutral" option it'll sell to customers.
Big picture: "Eventually this will be bundled with every Rivian sale. To start, this will be a package that’s going to be available with the vehicle," Scaringe says.
Of note: The solar plant is expected to begin generating electricity in 2027. It's being developed by BrightNight, an independent power producer based in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Catch up fast: It's impossible to track how individual electrons flow across an electric grid. So companies rely on renewable energy credits, or RECs, to represent the low-carbon power they're buying.
Zoom in: Building electric cars has proved enormously expensive, and automakers are racing to unlock new revenue streams, such as by tying certain features to subscription pricing.
- Rivian's approach is among the more unorthodox — and squarely focused on clean energy.
Be smart: The automaker is taking a page from airlines that offer optional carbon-offsets to guilt-ridden fliers.
What we're watching: "We see a wide range of really interesting business opportunities that exist when you take a broader, more holistic view of the electric system," Scaringe says.
- "Coordinating or aggregating usage around time of day, or coordinating and aggregating distributed storage, or coordinating and aggregating the use of renewable energy."