Rivian is best known as the first company to market electric pickup trucks. But after the electric vehicle maker filed for electric bike-related trademarks earlier this year, the EV industry has been eyeing a possible Rivia electric bike.
E-bikes actually outsell electric cars and trucks, due in part to their lower production costs and thus much lower purchase prices.
And so it would make sense for the electric car and SUV maker to look into developing a Rivian electric bike, joining other companies like Porsche that have expanded into e-bikes.
Now we’re getting the most detailed look yet at how e-bikes could be integrated into Rivian’s long-term plans, thanks to a recent Disrupt 2022 interview with Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe.
Scaringe expanded on the company’s view of light electric vehicles and their place in the larger electric car ecosystem:
When we look at transportation over the next 10-15 years, central to our thinking about our product mix is that we are moving more and more towards multimodality. Sometimes we use vehicles, sometimes public transport, we think more and more about electric bikes, electric assisted bikes.
And in order to be part of such a mosaic of different mobility solutions, we have a whole range of products, many of which are quite far from what you see here [gesturing to the Rivian R1S electric SUV].
As Scaringe continued about a possible Rivia electric bike:
E-bike mode is something we are very excited about. We haven’t announced or said anything there. However, I believe that it will play an increasingly important role in transportation, both in the movement of goods for commercial purposes and also in the movement of people.
It’s true that e-bike sales have exploded in recent years, accompanied by a large shift to e-cycling.
But it’s not just commuters who are into light electric two-wheelers. Transport companies are also adopting e-bikes as a more efficient way to deliver deliveries in congested urban centers and cities.
Rivian apparently sees these commercial customers as a potential big play.
After discussing the company’s large and small vans, Scaringe explained how the company’s upcoming smaller electric vans could be a predictor of the future of Rivian electric bikes.
Of course, we’re moving to smaller form factors and we’re seeing that a lot of deliveries are moving more and more to very small things. Bikes or e-assist bikes do a lot of urban deliveries, so we’ve given it a lot of thought as a product range.
Rivian’s recent hire further increases the chances that we’ll see a Rivian e-bike in the company’s future. The former CTO of Specialized’s e-bike division was brought in to work on Rivian’s “future programs,” and it’s not hard to guess what those future programs might entail.
Several car manufacturers have also jumped on the Electric Bicycle bandwagon in recent years, chasing the fast-growing market and the low barrier to entry of light two-wheeled electric vehicles.
Peugeot has its own wide range of electric bikes, and Spain’s SEAT has partnered with Barcelona-based Silence to introduce its own sit-on and stand-up electric scooters.
GM developed the Electric Bicycle in-house, although the project was killed at the start of the COVID pandemic.
ŠKODA released one of the weirdest electric bike/scooter concepts we’ve seen, although there’s no indication that it’s going into production.
Jeep has gotten into the high-powered electric bike game through licensing deals, though its similar effort to co-develop an electric scooter was considerably less impressive.
Even motorcycle manufacturers like Harley-Davidson and BMW Motorrad have gotten into electric bikes and scooters, though Harley’s results have been far more impressive than BMW’s.
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