With pre-production Tesla Cybertrucks out on the road and deliveries seemingly nearing, the Rivian R1T is about to face a new challenge in the electric pickup market. Or so you’d think. Rivian’s CEO RJ Scaringe isn’t too worried about Tesla’s truck, and he explained why in an interview with The Verge.
“If you were to think of, like, the Venn diagrams of [Rivian R1T and Tesla Cybertruck] customers, there’s probably not a lot of overlap,” Scaringe told an audience in an interview uploaded to Instagram. The executive offered a diplomatic explanation: the auto industry is diverse in a way that many EV proponents (often from the tech industry) just don’t understand. Scaringe went on to explain that he sees room for multiple answers to the question of the best electric truck, calling the Cybertruck “different,” and remarking that “it’s great that a product like that exists in the world” because of its contribution toward electrification.
Scaringe’s perspective makes sense, as while the Cybertruck falls broadly into the same category as the R1T and GMC Hummer EV—recreational pickups—they all address slightly different demographics. Each also have long order backlogs, meaning many customers have reservations on multiple trucks, and cancel their backups based on what’s first available. By that virtue, someone who can’t get a Rivian or the elusive Hummer may be glad to accept a Cybertruck.
At the same time, the Cybertruck is showing signs of falling short of the stratospheric expectations set by Tesla’s hype-man CEO Elon Musk. Even among Tesla fans, the evolution of its styling from the already polarizing concept to pre-production mule hasn’t gone down well. Despite aiming to exceed the Ford F-150‘s capabilities, photos of a “release candidate’s” bed show design decisions that compromise utility. A replacement for every other truck on the road, the Cybertruck won’t be.
But that’s a given to anyone approaching electric trucks from the automotive perspective as opposed to the tech side. Cars don’t continuously improve in every way, and new cars don’t unilaterally obsolete the old. Scaringe understands this, and it’s a perspective other advocates for electrification would benefit from, too.
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