Rivian wants to reduce the carbon footprint of its next generation of electric vehicles

Rivian has released its first-ever environmental and social impact report, in which the company commits to building a new generation of electric vehicles that are even less polluting than the current generation.

Rivian said its goal is to launch a product “with half the lifecycle carbon footprint” by 2030 as its 2022 R1 vehicles, which include the R1T pickup and the R1S SUV. The “lifecycle carbon footprint” refers to all greenhouse gas emissions, direct and indirect, associated with a product’s activities. For an electric car, that includes production, use and charging, from design to the junkyard.

Rivian said its goal is to launch a product “with half the lifecycle carbon footprint” as its 2022 R1 vehicles by 2030

To achieve this, Rivian says it will increase the percentage of recycled materials used in its vehicles. This includes using a minimum of 70 percent recycled material in steel and aluminum parts and a minimum of 40 percent recycled and biobased material in polymer materials, both by 2030.

Rivian is expected to unveil its next generation of R2 vehicles sometime this year, with an expected production date of 2026. The company has said one of the first vehicles will be a smaller SUV priced between $40,000 and $60,000. The current crop of R1 vehicles start at around $80,000 each.

To reduce carbon emissions, Rivian plans to dramatically increase its use of renewable energy. The company says its factory in Normal, Illinois, will run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, along with the rest of its facilities. Rivian’s charging network, which has 64 stations and 385 chargers nationwide, also runs on sustainable energy.

Rivian uses, among other things, virtual power purchase agreements to achieve its environmental goals. The company is committed to financing sustainable energy projects such as an 800 megawatt (MW) solar field built on top of a former coal mine in Kentucky and another solar project in Paris, Tennessee.

The purchase agreements are considered “virtual” because the clean energy will not flow directly to Rivian’s electric trucks, SUVs or vans, or even to the company’s headquarters or factories. Rivian says that while it may not directly fund the solar project, it will ensure there will be a market for the energy when the photovoltaics come online.

In its impact report, the company says it will “support” the creation of 2 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy projects toward its goal of decarbonizing all customer costs. This will be enough energy for 7 billion kilometers of driving, Rivian claims.

Rivian has been at the forefront of the debate over electric cars and climate change, criticizing its competitors for being “far off track” on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a way that can meet the Accord’s targets from Paris. The company co-wrote a report with Polestar arguing that electric vehicles alone would not be enough to limit global temperature rise. The automotive industry should play a stronger role in increasing renewable energy in electricity grids and reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout the supply chain.

And even as Republicans, led by Tesla and percent will increase.

Despite these lofty goals, the company is still struggling to establish itself as a serious competitor in the automotive sector. While the trucks and SUVs are well-reviewed and popular with customers, their higher price makes them unaffordable for many potential buyers at a time when mass-market adoption of electric vehicles appears to be slowing.

Rivian delivered fewer vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2023 than the previous quarter, causing its stock price to drop recently.

Update January 12, 9:53 am ET: Updated to clarify information about Rivian’s charging network and facilities’ power sources.

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