Rivian CEO Mocks People Who Buy Gas Cars

The EV transition is happening, whether you like it or not. It won’t be an overnight process — we keep our cars around for 12.5 years on average, and it’ll take longer than that to entirely cycle out America’s internal combustion fleet — but Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe sees that change coming sooner rather than later. In fact, he already sees ICE vehicles as past their time.

In an interview with Heatmap, Scaringe gave his take on the EV transition. He talked about his surprise at how quickly regulators have gotten onboard with electric vehicles, as well as his disbelief that anyone would still, in this day and age, go out and buy themselves a car that burns gas. Unless, of course, they need a minivan:

If you’d told me just a few years ago that Europe would be committing to 100% of new vehicles being electric, you know, within the next 10 years. That California would be making that commitment in the same way. That the United States, through EPA regulations, is going to be 60% EV of new sales by 2030, I don’t think I would have believed it.

That doesn’t mean [consumers are] going to decide on electric, either because of concerns around charging infrastructure or price, or the vehicle that they’re looking for doesn’t exist — “I want a minivan, but there’s no electric minivan that’s out there.”

Then I think the reality of buying a combustion powered vehicle, in light of the policy that’s coming, is sort of like building a horse barn in 1910. Like, imagine buying a Chevy Suburban in 2030. Like, what are you going to do with that, right? In 10 years? Yeah, like gas stations will be slowly disappearing. It’s just weird.

Aside from the fact that horses definitely, 100 percent still exist, Scaringe makes some good points. Resale values for ICE vehicles could very well begin to drop off as EV infrastructure catches up, and electric buyers do need more choices available on the market. He also made note that the electric transition will only accelerate as electric cars become more normalized — a clear point towards the adoption curve, and the hope that EVs will soon begin to capture that early majority.

But Scaringe’s most prescient statement is his most ironic. He talked about the lack of low-cost options in the EV game, and said consumers shopping at those lower price points simply have no electric option to purchase:

Until recently, there were very, very few choices. Even today, I’d say there are very few good choices, especially across all price bands. So if you want to spend $20,000, you just don’t have a good choice to make. You want to spend $35,000 or $40,000, there’s a couple of choices. But there’s still not a lot of choices. And we’ve seen that manifest in the extreme market share that Tesla has, because of the lack of choice from other manufacturers.

If Scaringe is so concerned about pricing, why did Rivian discontinue its cheapest offerings last year? Why is the entry-level R2 model not coming until 2026? If cost is such a major concern, for both Scaringe and Rivian, why has the company taken so long to bring prices down?