Tag Archives: engineering

RIVIAN – THE ULTIMATE VEHICLE?

Last week, on the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, we could witness a birth of a new player in the electric cars’ game – Rivian.

To start with, I’ll explain what is hiding under this rather modern name. Rivian’s owner describes his products (because they already launched two, not one) as “The world’s first Electric Adventure Vehicles”. As it turned out, they’ve been working on their project for the last seven years in their headquaters in California (obviously), developing their product with the smallest details and avoiding mistakes previously made by competitors.

So, they made two models – a seven-seat SUV called R1S and R1T, which is a five-seat pick-up. Both of them are based on Rivian’s invention named ‘skateboard’ platform (sounds cool, doesn’t it?), which basically means that parts like the battery, suspension or drive units are placed below the height of each wheel. Not only does it provide much more passenger space, but also a low centre of gravity, which might make the difference in the car that weights 2.6-tonnes.

Potential buyers can opt for three battery sizes: 180kWh (400 mile range) and 135kWh (300 mile range) and a 105kWh battery (230 mile range). Rivian also promises that their products’ interiors are provided with the best quality materials, such as actual wood on the dashboard.

Right, but it all sounds like we’ve already heard that story about a complete revolution in the electric cars industry, best materials, biggest batteries and even bigger numbers attached. Rivian’s owner, RJ Scaringe claims  that he “started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have.” So, what is so special about this brand?

First of all, their cars are provided with kind of artificial intelligence of the new level. While driving the Rivian, an algorithm constantly analyze your driving style and learn how to better optimize its charge. Welcome to the future!

 

As the Electric Adventure Vehicles, they are expected to provide you some load space, right? Well, in the R1T, there’s 330-litres under the hood (because there’s no engine inside), a 350-litre space in the R1T’s so called ‘gear tunnel’, and a 200-litre bin beneath the rear bed floor.

 

Moreover, both models are equipped with tools like cameras, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and GPS, which allow for ‘Level 3’ autonomy. What does it exactly mean? In Level 3 cars, you’re still needed as a driver, but you are able to transfer safety-critical functions to the vehicle, depending on traffic and other conditions, so they are really close to producing fully autonomous cars with a highest Level 5 autonomy.

And the last but not least – speed. These things are TREMENDOUSLY quick. Both are claimed to reach 60mph in 3 seconds. In a car of this weight, these numbers are far more than impressive.

 

You can already order both of Rivian’s models. The pick-up is expected to be delivered in 2020, and the SUV no earlier than a year after.

So, what do you think about the whole project, apart from the these cars’ names which you probably associate more with a Star Wars’ characters rather than cars? Will Rivian find its niche or make a huge loss? Let me know below!

 

References:

https://www.topgear.com

https://cleantechnica.com/2017/12/02/autonomous-driving-levels-0-5-implications/

 

 

 

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The Hemp Fiber of Tomorrow.

Hemp is one of the most environmentally friendly plants from all perspectives: growing, processing etc. Hemp is capable of creating over 25,000 products.

So why doesn’t everyone have hemp products in their lives? When you do not include the common things such as the perception of the cannabis plant globally according to “public opinion”. It really comes down to price. When you compare the price per kilo of cotton versus hemp the reason is obvious.

Cotton is much easier to harvest and process into usable fiber for the productions of fabrics. Hemp on the other hand uses more complicated techniques to harvest the bast fiber and still it is not as flexible as cotton, because of that though certain products can be made better with hemp and other still can be made with hemp and cotton blends.

So if we consider the main barrier of cannabis (hemp) products being accepted broadly once again how do we lower the cost of the fiber production? There has not been any real breakthroughs and innovations of the retting, degumming and other processes used to process hemp in a long time. This is set to change with a new company that has been developing a new product for quite some time. This company is called Canfiber Inc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iqo2KtWDqAk

The main idea of this machine is to strip the fiber from the stalk as the stalks are cut from the ground. This will give out more long fiber and that is crucial for creating good fabrics. This would also allow farmers to sell the hurds in longer sections and this would create much better hempcrete. This machine will clearly make hemp more competitive with cotton once the product gets off the ground officially.

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