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Rivian R1S is a battery-powered SUV for off-roading adventurers. Photo: Rivian

Electric vehicle start-up Rivian made its debut at the Los Angeles auto show by taking the wraps off two new rugged battery-powered models — a pickup truck and a seven-passenger SUV.

The big picture: Founded in 2009, Rivian is one of a slew of EV start-ups trying to elbow their way into the automotive industry at a time of unprecedented disruption. Tesla is a rare success story — and even it came within weeks of death this year, CEO Elon Musk recently told Axios. Rivian is targeting a unique niche: adventurous, off-roading families.

The details: The R1T and R1S are particularly ambitious efforts, with big promises on performance, autonomous technology, and off-road capability. The company says they will go on sale starting in 2020.

  • The R1S will have a range of up to 410 miles, a 0-60 mph time of three seconds, and the ability to wade through nearly three feet of water.
  • Both models come with three battery choices: 105 kWh, 135 kWh (for fast performance), and 180 kWh (for longer range).
  • All-wheel drive and a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds come standard.
  • They'll launch with Level 3 autonomy (eyes off, hands off) but Rivian says they will eventually offer full self-driving capability.
  • The R1T starts at $61,500 and the R1S at $65,000, after the federal EV tax credit.

Success is a long shot, but the company has wealthy backers, including Middle East conglomerate Abdul Latif Jameel. Founder RJ Scaringe told me he's talking to several strategic investors, too.

  • The twist: Rivian is also plotting a strategy to share its technology with other companies and says its system can fit jet skies and snowmobiles, too.

My thought bubble: Consumers still suffer from range anxiety when it comes to electric vehicles. I can't imagine driving off into the wilderness in an EV, wondering if I'll have enough juice to get back to civilization. Maybe that's where the adventure comes in.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media giant is renaming its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.

U.S. border cities again see low violent crime rates

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.

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