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How to Build a Better Tesla Image Credit: Forbes
How to Build a Better Tesla Image Credit: Forbes

How To Build A Better Tesla

If Elon Musk is Tony Stark, then Rivian founder R.J. Scaringe is Clark Kent. Meet the mild-mannered entrepreneur whose battery-powered SUVs and pickup trucks are electrifying the auto industry.

Chuck Tannert

The talk of November’s Los Angeles Auto Show wasn’t Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW or any of the usual luxury car suspects. Rather, the buzz was created by a little-known electric-vehicle builder, Rivian Automotive, based in Plymouth, Michigan. After nearly ten years of developing EV technology, the company unveiled its first two battery-powered autos: the R1S, a seven-seat sport utility vehicle, and the R1T pickup truck.

Designed for people with active lifestyles, the so-called adventure vehicles exhibit a Range Rover aesthetic—rugged, capable and luxurious—and are packed with the latest high-tech amenities such as internet connectivity and a host of autonomous driver-safety features.

“Adventure is life,” gushes R.J. Scaringe, Rivian’s 36-year-old founder and CEO. “[Your destination] could be fishing, it could be golfing, it could be taking the family out for lunch.”

Scaringe’s love affair with “things that move,” as he puts it, began as a child. As soon as he was old enough to handle tools, he helped a neighbor rebuild Porsche 356s in his garage in Melbourne, Florida. “My favorite was a late-1950s Speedster,” Scaringe says. By high school he had become obsessed with the idea of building his own brand of automobiles, a


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