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Rivian Plant Expansion Supports New ‘Enduro’ Electric Drive Unit

Article-Rivian Plant Expansion Supports New ‘Enduro’ Electric Drive Unit

Image courtesy of Rivian Rivian Normal plant.png
Rivian's Normal, Illinois factory.
Rivian’s upcoming in-house electric motor will top the performance of today’s Bosch-supplied motors.

EV startups can be cautious about the release of technical information, but Rivian founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe has been posting information about the company’s vehicles on social media, providing a glimpse of what is happening behind the scenes.

One key fact is that Rivian is continuing to expand the plant in Normal, Illinois, that the company bought from Mitsubishi. A new 650,000-square-foot expansion will bring the factory’s total area to more than 4 million square feet. The new area will be used to manufacture Rivian’s next-generation Enduro electric drive units, according to Scaringe.

Rivian senior director of electric power conversion Silva Hiti also provided details on that upcoming power unit. The company applies that terminology to the electric drive unit because it incorporates additional components, such as the inverter, so it is more than just an electric motor.

According to Hiti, her engineering team develops inverters, motors, power electronics, and chargers. They’ve been working on the Enduro power unit, which is an in-house design that is scheduled to debut in 2024 to supplant the Bosch-supplied motors Rivian uses today.

“Our team designed the inverter on the top of the drive unit and the electric motor that goes into the drive unit,” she said. “It is an extremely powerful unit. This enduro drive unit provides almost as much power as two original drive units and when put in a dual motor configuration in our R1T or R1S it gives us more than 600 horsepower.”

Rivian has struggled to meet the demand for its popular pickups and SUVs, and technical analyst Sandy Munro has pointed to aspects of Rivian’s designs that present challenges for speedy manufacturing. The Enduro power units should alleviate some of that, according to Scaringe. “What’s gone into this is a lot of focus on manufacturability,” he said.

Image courtesy of RivianRivian Enduro power unit.png

Rivian's Enduro power unit.

But the Enduro’s power delivery is also notable, according to Scaringe. “We say ‘600-plus [horsepower],’” he said. “We’re excited about that ‘plus. There’s certainly a lot of potential. This is something that we’ve been developing, not just on dynamometers, it’s in vehicles. I drove one last week, it’s incredible. I really enjoy the power delivery, the torque, the smoothness of driving it.”

The Enduro power unit isn’t scheduled until 2024, but these details suggest that we have plenty to look forward to as the company improves what is already an exemplary vehicle.


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