Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - 14

R1T EXPOSED!
New Rivian R1Ts at the company's
Michigan engineering facility.
A comprehensive teardown of Rivian's pioneering electric pickup reveals
praiseworthy build quality, innovative thinking...and some lapses in manufacturability.
by Lindsay Brooke
R
ivian's R1T is in big demand by both the public
and the industry. OEMs are still scrambling to
acquire their own examples of the pioneering,
innovative electric pickup for competitive analysis
and testing, typically paying brokers hefty premiums
over the retail price. The hot-ticket trucks are in short
supply; Rivian has for a variety of reasons struggled to
ramp up its Normal, Illinois, plant (capacitized for
150,000 units annually when it was owned by Mitsubishi).
The facility, which also builds the R1S SUV and the new,
battery-electric Amazon delivery van, only achieved its
first full 10-hour-shift day of uninterrupted production in
early June. Line rate improved greatly by July.
Vehicle design plays a significant role in assembly efficiency
as well as in build quality and customer delight.
So, how does the R1T stack up in its DfM (design for manufacturability)?
And what compelling technologies lurk
underneath the sheetmetal? For a look deep inside the
truck, SAE Media recently visited Munro & Associates, a
leading product teardown, analysis, costing and leandesign
consulting firm based in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Prior to the R1T's launch, company founder Sandy
Munro hunted down two R1Ts for sale and purchased
both, one from Rivian and one via a broker. One of the
trucks is the subject of a comprehensive nut-and-bolt
teardown by Munro's engineers, whose detailed obser14
August 2022
vations and data go into a series of commercially available reports.
The second vehicle became Munro's daily driver and a touchstone
for the teardown activity. The truck has performed beyond his expectation,
including in regular off-road exercises. " It's hands-down superior
to the hybrid [Jeep] Wrangler Rubicon and the Land Rovers that I've
owned, " Munro asserted.
Meeting Munro in his facility's Rivian teardown area, he noted that his
business now is almost entirely dedicated to the scrutiny of EVs, their
subsystems and components. " For the most part we're finished with
ICE-related work, " he said. " There is enormous industry-wide interest in
EV technology and design, " he said, " and we aim to be the go-to. " He
pointed to two Tesla teardowns nearing completion and said Ford F-150
Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV projects are in queue.
'A bear to assemble'
A typical vehicle teardown takes roughly three months to complete,
and according to Susan Smith, a veteran industry engineer with extensive
automotive metals, seating and manufacturing experience
who serves as program manager on the Rivian project, Munro's team
was about three weeks into the R1T when SAE Media visited. " We
typically deploy a team of 12 on each teardown, " she explained.
Around us, groups of engineers and technicians wielding hand tools
and micrometers were methodically dismantling the truck's interior
and cargo areas. Components and subsystems are measured and
weighed, their material content and function are assessed, the parts
AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING
LINDSAY BROOKE

Automotive Engineering - August 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive Engineering - August 2022

Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - Intro
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - Sponsor1
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - CVRA
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - CVRB
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - CVR1
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - CVR2
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - 1
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - 2
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - 3
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - 4
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - 5
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Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - CVR3
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - CVR4
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