Elon’s electric cars are no longer a musk garden.
“A lot of people said Tesla was really good at service in its early days, but now it’s a headache when the company scales,” said Skyler Williams, a 42-year-old from Austin, Texas. “There are issues with Tesla’s quality control, no doubt – and then there’s Elon Musk, who’s kind of love-him-or-hate him.”
Although he will not get his next car until April, Williams decided to take a chance with a Tesla competitor and postpone $ 80,000 for an R1S – the busy all-electric SUV from Rivian, a brand new company that per. December 16 only produced 650 trucks and just two SUVs.
Williams has already been waiting patiently for his Rivian for over three years.
He is one of the thousands of EV enthusiasts who are willing to pay big bucks for vehicles that barely exist, from a company that is so far completely unproven.
Besides the Rivian – which ended its Nasdaq debut in November with a market value well over $ 100 billion, which temporarily put it ahead of GM – there is also Lucid, whose new Air Dream sedan has been named Car of the Year 2022 by MotorTrend.
Not that Tesla’s CEO Musk seems bothered.
“There have been hundreds of car startups, both electric and combustion engines, but it’s Tesla [the] the only American automaker to achieve high-volume production and positive cash flow in the last 100 years, ”Musk tweeted after Rivian’s IPO, after wishing the company good luck.
But for some buyers, the idea of driving a once cool Tesla, that is now part of taxi and rental fleets and increasingly acquired by an increasingly older segment of population, is a non-starter.
“Teslas are more the norm, but that’s because they’re the only game in town so far,” said Guilford, Connecticut resident 41-year-old Jeff Manfredonia, who has been waiting for his rival SUV since early 2020. “I think of it this way: maybe your dream was to buy a Porsche your whole life, but when you’re finally capable of it, you have other options.”
Jon Rettinger, 41, was one of the earliest buyers of the Tesla Model S in his hometown of Irvine, California. He has been running the brand since 2013, but was ready to try something different. His Model 3 bumper had to be reattached, and his friend’s new Model Y has been in and out of the store for two months. This week, there were nearly one million Tesla Model 3 and Model S versions recalled for security issues.
“I wanted a more luxurious experience,” the president and founder of JFL Network told The Post.
After hearing about the Air Dream sedan – which plans to produce only 520 of its debut model – the father of three called Lucid’s toll-free number and told the sales team that if they could get him a car this year, he would cough up. $ 169,000 for the luxury sedan.
“I’ve never driven a car, even close to that price,” added the self-described “un-flashy” influence on social media whose wife drives a Honda Odyssey.
But, Rettinger admitted, he has enjoyed the direct glances he gets when he takes out his Lucid Dream P, which was delivered two weeks before Christmas.
“I’ve been stopped several times by people who want to talk about my car,” Rettinger said. “People ask questions and even take videos.”
He loves the massaging seats, the ample interior space – “as big as a limousine” – and the motorized trunk in front that Tesla does not have. That it has 1,111 horsepower and the ability to go from zero to 60 in 2.42 seconds plus a range of 470 miles on one charge is even better.
“I feel like I’ve getting the luxury of a Mercedes plus the performance and ultimately the technology of a Tesla,” Rettinger said.
He acknowledged that the Tesla Model S Plaid could go from zero to 60 in just under two seconds – “but I was happy to spend 0.5 seconds less for 150 more range.”
Despite the Tesla Powerball battery system in his garage, Rettinger said he never buys another Muskmobile for himself: “My Lucid is unlike anything else on the road.”
As far back as 2015, Austins Williams, CEO of a private cloud and high-performance computer company, took a Tesla Model S on tour, but did not think the sedan would meet the needs of his adventurous family.
“I was sold on electric cars after that test drive,” he admitted. “But basically, I’m a truck driver. I like being high off the ground, and I enjoy taking my jeeps where you would never take a Tesla: off-road driving, camping, hiking.”
He had an eye for the start-up company Bollinger, but did not like the boxed design when the final photos were revealed – or the sticker price of $ 125,000. Then he heard about Rivian’s R1T EV truck in November 2018.
Within two weeks of the brand unveiling its new model, he deposited $ 1,000 in advance on a $ 80,000 truck. “The power, performance and unique system of four independent engines to give precise control of each wheel … no one else has it,” Williams said, even though he has only driven one once. Still, the itch triumphed over the latest toy: He switched to the R1S SUV when it was unveiled days after the truck.
“As soon as his SUV arrives in the spring,” I have to scare my wife and kids! It’s an SUV that can go from zero to 60 in 3 seconds, and I’ve heard it accelerate faster than many Porsches out there, “he said. “The Rivian has a hydraulic suspension architecture that resembles a McLaren sports car and a Suburban storage space, all in a small Tahoe-sized package.”
And it does not have the problems that Tesla’s trucks face. Delayed until 2022, the apparent Mad Max-inspired CyberTruck has been widely ridiculed for its comically massive windshield wiper (“big adult wiper,” critics have stung), its unfinished “tableless” batteries, as well as its debacle of a debut in 2019. When chief designer Franz von Holzhausen went to demonstrate the vehicle’s so-called “armor glass” panes by throwing a metal bullet at them, they smashed – causing Musk to mumble, “Oh my f-king God!”
Retired police officer Jeff Larssan of Long Beach, LI, never even considered a Tesla: He is a surfer, snowboarder and camper who likes his Toyota Tundra and Tacoma trucks. He had rented a Model X Tesla in Florida and did not love the experience. “There is nothing exciting or ‘adventure’ about it. It’s a small city car that is low to the ground and owned largely by Elon Musk fanboys, ”he told The Post.
He was at the New York Auto Show in April 2019 and was looking for a new car for his girlfriend when he first saw a Rivian.
“I’m going over to this prototype and I’m like, holy shit, it looks so cool,” the 56-year-old said. He went back to the show the next day and spent hours talking to the rep and crawling around to get a look at the “skateboard platform” and wheel motors. On the train home, he made a deposit on an R1T on the spot.
He’s still waiting for his truck, but has already become a rival cheerleader: appearing on a community YouTube channel, Rivian Stories, with other fanatics and flying down to Atlanta in September 2020 for a pre-order event, where he met the company’s CEO, RJ Scaringe, 38.
“I do not want to lie: I am a man in love with this guy,” Larssan said. “What he does, how eloquent and intelligent he is without being cocky like Elon … I liked that.” Rivian brought him a truck to test drive out on Long Island; he took it on the sand and to the shore and said everyone stopped him to take pictures. He has since launched an Instagram handle (@Jazzys_Rivian_Adventure) devoted to his new truck, which was to arrive at the end of February.
His $ 90,000 R1T comes with a camp kitchen and all the other additions. “At first, Rivian said it would have 750 horsepower, but it came out at 835. You put your foot on the accelerator and your head flies back,” Larssan said. “It’s not like an ordinary car that has to move through a transmission gear or an internal combustion engine so that it can accelerate with the same propulsion all the time. It is raw power. “
Of course, there is always the fear that Lucid and Rivian could at some point become as common as Teslas; after all, Amazon – a major rival investor – has ordered 100,000 of the vehicles to be delivered by 2030.
Still, Manfredonia is not so worried about the SUV he ordered almost two years ago, but has not yet done so: “If I hate it, I could probably turn my Rivian for a profit.”