Rivian is best known as being the first company to market with an electric pickup truck. But after the electric vehicle manufacturer submitted trademarks earlier this year related to electric bicycles, the EV industry has kept an eye out for a possible Rivian e-bike.
E-bikes actually outsell electric cars and truck handily, due in part to their lower production cost and thus much lower purchase prices.
And so it would make sense for the electric truck and SUV maker to explore developing a Rivian e-bike, joining other companies like Porsche who have expanded into electric bikes.
Now we’re getting our most detailed look yet at how electric bicycles could be integrated into Rivian’s long term plans, thanks to a recent Disrupt 2022 interview with Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe.
Scaringe expanded upon how the company views light electric vehicles and their place in the larger EV ecosystem:
When you look at transportation over the next 10 to 15 years, core to part of the way we think about our product portfolio is increasingly that we go towards multimodal. We’ll be using vehicles sometimes, public transportation other times, we think increasingly e-bikes, electric assist bikes.
And so for us to be part of that sort of mosaic of different mobility solutions, we have a whole host of products that a number of which are pretty far from what you see here [gesturing to the Rivian R1S electric SUV].
As Scaringe continued on the subject of a possible Rivian e-bike:
The e-bike space is something we’re super excited about. We haven’t announced anything or said anything there. But I do think it is going to play an increasingly important role for transportation, both in the movement of goods for commercial purposes, but also for the movement of people.
It’s true that the last few years have seen skyrocketing growth in electric bike sales, accompanied by a major shift towards e-bike commuting.
But it’s not just commuters who are flocking to lightweight electric two-wheelers. Delivery companies are also adopting electric bicycles as a more effective way to make deliveries in crowded urban centers and cities.
Rivian is apparently looking at those commercial customers as a potential major play.
After discussing the company’s large and small vans, Scaringe elaborated on how the company’s upcoming smaller electric delivery vans could be a harbinger of Rivian e-bikes to come.
Of course we’ll be moving to even smaller form factors and the way we see it is a lot of deliveries are going to increasingly move to things that are very small. Bikes or e-assist bikes are performing a lot of urban deliveries, and so as a product portfolio, we’ve thought a lot about that.
A recent hire by Rivian further increases the chances that we’ll see a Rivian e-bike in the company’s future. The former CTO of Specialized’s electric bike division was scooped up to work on ‘future programs’ for Rivian, and it’s not hard to guess what those future programs could entail.
Several automotive manufacturers have also jumped on the electric bicycle bandwagon in the last few years, chasing the rapidly expanding market and the low barrier to entry for lightweight two-wheeled electric vehicles.
Peugot has its own extensive line of e-bikes, and Spain’s SEAT has partnered with Barcelona-based Silence to roll out its own seated and standing electric scooters.
GM developed an electric bicycle in-house, though the project was killed off early in the COVID pandemic.
ŠKODA rolled out one of the weirdest electric bike/scooter concepts we’ve seen, though there’s no indication it is headed for production.
Jeep has gotten into the high-power e-bike game via licensing agreements, though its similar attempt to co-develop an electric scooter was significantly less impressive.
Even motorcycle manufacturers like Harley-Davidson and BMW Motorrad have gotten into electric bicycles and scooters, though Harley’s results have been much more impressive than BMW’s.
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