Elon’s electrical automobiles are not a Musk-have.
“Lots of people mentioned Tesla was actually good about service in its early days, however now it’s a headache as the firm scales,” mentioned Skyler Williams, a 42-year-old from Austin, Texas. “There are points with Tesla’s high quality management, for sure — after which there’s Elon Musk, who’s a love-him-or-hate him kind of a guy.”
Even although he gained’t get his subsequent automobile till April, Williams determined to take an opportunity on a Tesla competitor and shell out $80,000 for a R1S — the buzzy all-electric SUV from Rivian, a brand-new firm that has, as of Dec. 16, solely produced 650 vehicles and exactly two SUVS.
Williams has already been ready patiently for his Rivian for three-plus years.
He’s one among the 1000’s of EV lovers keen to pay massive bucks for autos that hardly exist from an organization that’s, to date, utterly unproven.
Besides Rivian — which closed its November Nasdaq debut with a market worth nicely above $100 billion, quickly putting it ahead of GM — there’s additionally Lucid, whose new Air Dream sedan has been named the 2022 Car of the Year by MotorTrend.
Not that Tesla CEO Musk appears bothered.
“There have been a whole lot of automotive startups, each electrical and combustion, however Tesla is [the] solely American carmaker to succeed in excessive quantity manufacturing & constructive money circulation in previous 100 years,” Musk tweeted after Rivian’s IPO, after wishing the firm luck.
But for some consumers, the concept of driving a once-cool Tesla, which is now part of taxi and rental fleets and increasingly purchased by an ever-older segment of the population, is a non-starter.
“Teslas are extra of the norm, however that’s as a result of till now they had been the solely recreation on the town,” says Guilford, Conn., resident Jeff Manfredonia, 41, who’s been ready for his Rivian SUV since early 2020. “I consider it like this: possibly your dream was to purchase a Porsche your entire life, however then once you’re lastly capable of, you’ve different choices.”
Jon Rettinger, 41, was one among the earliest purchasers of Tesla’s Model S in his hometown of Irvine, Calif. He’s been driving the model since 2013 however was able to strive one thing completely different. His Model 3 bumper wanted to be re-applied, and his buddy’s new Model Y has been out and in of the store for happening two months. This week, almost 1,000,000 Tesla Model 3 and Model S variations had been recalled for safety issues.
“I needed a extra luxurious expertise,” the president and founding father of JFL Network instructed The Post.
After listening to about the Air Dream sedan — which plans to provide simply 520 of its debut mannequin — the father of three known as Lucid’s toll-free quantity and instructed the gross sales workforce that if they might get him a automobile this yr, he’d cough up $169,000 for the luxurious sedan.
“I’ve by no means pushed a automobile even near that value,” added the self-described “un-flashy” social media influencer, whose spouse drives a Honda Odyssey.
But, Rettinger admitted, he has been having fun with the outright stares he will get each time he takes out his Lucid Dream P, which was delivered two weeks earlier than Christmas.
“I’ve been stopped a number of occasions by individuals who need to discuss my automobile,” Rettinger mentioned. “People ask questions and even take movies.”
He loves the massaging seats, the ample inside area — “as massive as a limousine’s” — and the powered entrance trunk, which Teslas don’t have. That it has 1,111 horsepower and the potential to go from zero to 60 in 2.42 seconds, plus a variety of 470 miles on one cost, is even higher.
“I really feel like I get the luxurious of a Mercedes plus the efficiency and, finally, the expertise of a Tesla,” Rettinger mentioned.
He acknowledged that the Tesla Model S Plaid can go from zero to 60 in just below two seconds — “however I used to be blissful to take .5 seconds much less for 150 extra miles of vary.”
Despite the Tesla Powerball battery system in his storage, Rettinger mentioned he’s by no means shopping for one other Muskmobile for himself: “My Lucid is in contrast to anything on the highway.”
Way again in 2015, Austin’s Williams, the CEO of a non-public cloud and high-performance computing firm, took a Tesla Model S for a spin, however didn’t assume the sedan would meet his adventurous household’s wants.
“I used to be offered on electrical autos after that check drive,” he admitted. “But, at coronary heart, I’m a truck man. I like being excessive off the floor and I take pleasure in taking my Jeeps the place you’d by no means take a Tesla: off-roading, tenting, mountain climbing.”
He had his eye on upstart firm Bollinger however didn’t like the boxy design when closing photographs had been revealed — or the $125,000 sticker value. Then he heard about Rivian’s R1T EV truck in November 2018.
Within two weeks of the model revealing its new mannequin, he put down the $1,000 pre-order deposit on an $80,000 truck. “The energy, the efficiency and the distinctive system with 4 impartial motors to present exact management over every wheel … nobody else has that,” Williams mentioned, despite the fact that he’s solely pushed one as soon as. Still, the itch for the latest toy prevailed: He switched to the R1S SUV when that was unveiled days after the truck.
As quickly as his SUV arrives in spring, “I’m going to scare my spouse and youngsters! It’s an SUV that may go from zero to 60 in 3 seconds and I’ve heard it accelerates quicker than loads of Porsches on the market,” he mentioned. “The Rivian has the hydraulic-suspension structure much like a McLaren sportscar and a Suburban’s price of storage all in a small, Tahoe-size package deal.”
And it doesn’t have the points going through Tesla’s vehicles. Delayed till 2022, the seemingly Mad Max-inspired CyberTruck has been extensively mocked for its comically huge windshield wiper (“massive grownup wiper,” critics have jabbed), its unfinished “tabless” batteries, in addition to its debacle of a debut in 2019. When lead designer Franz von Holzhausen went to reveal the automobile’s so-called “armor glass” home windows by tossing a metallic ball at them, they shattered — prompting Musk to audibly mutter, “Oh my f–king God!”
Retired police officer Jeff Larssan, of Long Beach, LI, by no means even thought-about a Tesla: He’s a surfer, snowboarder and camper who likes his Toyota Tundra and Tacoma vehicles. He had rented a Model X Tesla in Florida and didn’t love the expertise. “There is nothing thrilling or ‘journey’ about it. It’s a bit of metropolis automobile that’s low to the floor and is owned just about by Elon Musk fanboys,” he instructed The Post.
He was at the New York Auto Show in April 2019, trying to find a brand new automobile for his girlfriend, when he first noticed a Rivian.
“I am going over to this prototype and I’m like, holy crap, that’s so cool wanting,” the 56-year-old mentioned. He went again to the present the subsequent day and spent hours speaking to the consultant and crouching round to get a take a look at the “skateboard platform” and wheel motors. On the practice dwelling, he put down a deposit for a R1T on the spot.
He’s nonetheless awaiting his truck however has already turn into a Rivian cheerleader: showing on a group YouTube channel, Rivian Stories, with different fanatics and flying right down to Atlanta in September 2020 for a pre-order holder occasion, the place he met the firm’s CEO, RJ Scaringe, 38.
“I’m not gonna lie: I’ve a person crush on this man,” Larssan mentioned. “What he’s doing, how well-spoken and clever he’s with out being cocky like Elon … I favored that.” Rivian introduced him a truck to check drive out on Long Island; he took it on the sand and to the shore, and mentioned everybody stopped him to take images. He’s since began an Instagram deal with (@Jazzys_Rivian_Adventure) dedicated to his new truck, which ought to arrive by the finish of February.
His $90,000 R1T comes with a camp kitchen and each different add-on. “Initially, Rivian mentioned it will have 750 horsepower, but it surely got here out at 835. You put your foot on the accelerator and your head flies again,” Larssan mentioned. “It’s not like a daily automobile that should transfer by means of transmission gearing or an inner combustion engine, so it could possibly pace up with the identical thrust the total time. It’s uncooked energy.”
Of course, there may be all the time the worry that, sooner or later, Lucid and Rivian may turn into as commonplace as Teslas; in any case, Amazon — an enormous Rivian investor — has ordered 100,000 of the autos to be delivered by 2030.
Still, Manfredonia isn’t too apprehensive about the SUV he ordered almost two years in the past, however doesn’t but have: “If I hate it, I may in all probability flip my Rivian for a revenue.”