Rivian CEO talks Cybertruck and Elon Musk

Rivian CEO talks Cybertruck and Elon Musk

  • Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe spoke with GQ magazine about Tesla, the UAW, and more.
  • Scaringe talked about the next phase of Rivian and his competition.
  • He said he wouldn’t own a Cybertruck, but that Tesla will be the one to beat with his next platform.

Despite owning multiple Teslas, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said he wouldn’t buy the Cybertruck. But Scaringe knows Tesla is the company to beat once Rivian’s new, more affordable R2 vehicles launch.

When asked about his thoughts on Tesla’s long-awaited, futuristic Cybertruck, the executive said that despite owning Tesla vehicles, he’d pass on this one.

“It’s a matter of personal choice, personal taste. It’s not for me,” Scaringe said in a recent interview with GQ, “but I know it’s gonna be for someone.

“Personally, it’s not something I would buy,” he said. “But I think it’s cool that it exists. I think it’s good that there’s a diversity of products. I think it’s good that there’s cool choices. I’m a car enthusiast at heart. I like to see people putting different things in the world.”

Scaringe added: “It’s a really unfortunate part of where we are from a societal point of view, that everything needs to be pitched into: For this to win, something else has to lose…”

The Rivian approach

Rivian has been a fascinating EV company to watch, especially since its blockbuster IPO in 2021. The 14-year-old firm has taken on thousands of vehicle reservations and expanded its operations rapidly.

But like any other fledgling EV firm, Rivian has also faced all sorts of challenges, including so-called production hell, supply chain constraints, two rounds of layoffs, and massive stock drops.

Scaringe has largely been heads-down on product throughout the rockiness. When it comes to Rivian’s flagship R1 platform, which includes the $70,000-plus R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, Scaringe says his tech and brand have been one-of-a-kind.

“We’re one of the largest market-share players in the premium segment,” he said. “We’re the dominant market-share player there.”

But Rivian has also been toiling away at its next-generation platform, the R2, which is supposed to be more affordable (Scaringe says in the $40,000 to $60,000 range). That’s where the competition gets a little stiff.

Making a splash in a less expensive EV segment is going to be crucial for any company looking to compete with Elon Musk moving forward.

“As we move into what we call our R2, which is a much lower price point, Tesla is the dominant market share player there,” Scaringe said. “So that product is so important for us, because it’ll be the first time we create something for that much broader cross section.”

Rivian is up to the challenge

Tesla has made headlines all year as it dropped prices, hit record production and delivery numbers, and continued to snatch up market share. Though that dominance is slipping as other viable EVs hit the market, Tesla still has a massive head start.

But given that EV adoption, particularly in the US, is relatively low, a lot of opportunity remains as the market matures in the coming years. It’s not a shoo-in yet, Scaringe said.

“I think the world’s better because Tesla’s here. But we have to recognize we’re still really early,” Scaringe told GQ. “There’s a lot of growth left. And it’s still very unclear who’s going to be the big owners of the market as you add up to 100 percent.”

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