Rivian's new Enduro motor helps get the EV startup back on track

Rivian assembles the Enduro unit in a new 620,000-square-foot addition to the assembly plant, Tim Fallon, vice president for manufacturing operations, said during a media event last week. “Really excited about what we’re doing as we continue to ramp,” he said.

He pointed to Rivian’s forecast that it will more than double vehicle production this year.

“All major components, including the motor, gearbox and inverter, are manufactured in-house for seamless integration and optimized efficiency,” the company said in prepared materials. “The Enduro motor platform will serve as the foundation for motors planned for Rivian’s next-generation R2 vehicle platform, starting in 2026.”

The R2 platform is critical because it is being developed for less expensive, smaller vehicles that will expand Rivian’s consumer base from its current lineup of large vehicles: the R1T, R1S and EDV commercial van.

Rivian began making its consumer R1 vehicles with the Enduro in May after converting EDV van production to the new motor earlier in the year. The R1 vehicles can still be configured with the previous drive unit that uses outside supplier components.

By adding the Enduro as the standard motor, Rivian can expand production since it has developed a robust supply chain for the in-house drive unit. In addition, the Enduro uses different power semiconductors than the original quad-motor drive, meaning it has two supply streams to produce EV motors.

Rivian said in August that it expected to make 52,000 vehicles this year compared with about 25,000 in 2022. Production was limited last year primarily because of a lack of power semiconductors for the outsourced quad-motor drive unit, the company has said.

In its latest earnings filing, the company reported a net loss of $1.2 billion in the second quarter compared with $1.7 billion in the same quarter last year. Revenue tripled to $1.1 billion on improving production and deliveries.

Rivian did not give cost savings for the Enduro alone, but Scaringe said the combination of the Enduro unit with a lower-cost battery pack in the EDV van has reduced materials costs by 35 percent. Rivian plans to use the less expensive batteries, with lithium iron phosphate chemistry, in its consumer vehicles in the future to reduce costs, the company has said.

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