Rivian stands out among EV-only automakers as one of few outsourcing electric motors

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Among EV-only automakers, Rivian has tried to distinguish itself with branding that’s equal parts rugged and premium. But there’s something else that sets Rivian apart, according to new IHS Markit analysis.

Rivian is the only EV-only automaker that has outsourced its electric motors, according to the firm, which notes in a recent blog post that this was done to help accelerate the launch of the Rivian R1T pickup truck. Rivian does plan to phase in its own motor design, along with a host of changes that include a heat pump and 800-volt electrical architecture.

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Automakers outsourcing electric motors (via IHS Markit)

Automakers outsourcing electric motors (via IHS Markit)

 

For now, though, Rivian is taking a different approach to the likes of Tesla and Lucid. For those automakers, proprietary, self-built motor designs are at the center of the push for efficiency.

In-house motors also align more closely with traditional auto industry practice. About 90% of internal-combustion engines are currently in-sourced, according to IHS Markit. Engine development has long been a point of pride for automakers, and engine characteristics have been an important part of many brand’s identities. Think BMW’s inline-6 or Chevrolet’s small-block V-8.

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IHS Markit predicts that electric-motor development strategies will also converge around in-sourcing over the next decade.

2022 Rivian R1T

2022 Rivian R1T

At present, Volvo parent Geely is listed as outsourcing nearly all of its motors for EVs, but both Volvo and Polestar have announced that they’ve in-sourced motor development.

Then there are companies doing it differently—like General Motors. The automaker says that it’s designed its new generation of electric motors but won’t be directly building them.

That definitely leaves space for suppliers like Bosch, Magna, Nidec, Toshiba, GE, and many others—including some names you might have associated with internal combustion, like Yamaha.

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