Today, we look at Rivians innovative approach to a body-on-frame vehicle and why Rivian’s this engineering excellence is setting the bar for the industry.
Rivian is an American electric vehicle manufacturer based in Plymouth, Michigan. The company was founded in 2009 and is focused on producing electric adventure vehicles, including its R1T electric adventure pickup truck, the R1S electric adventure SUV, and its delivery van it makes for amazon, the EDV. Rivian is notable for its unique body-on-frame design, which combines the durability and off-road capability of traditional body-on-frame cars with the performance and efficiency of electric powertrains. The company has received significant investment from several major automakers and technology companies and has received accolades for its innovative approach to electric vehicle design and technology.
Rivian chose to go with a body-on-frame design for its vehicles. Before we take a look at that, the other commonly used body design is called a monocoque design, also known as unibody construction. It is a method of building a vehicle in which the body of the vehicle serves as the main structural support. In a monocoque design, the body panels are used to provide most of the strength and rigidity, rather than relying on a separate frame. This type of design is commonly used in passenger cars, and sports cars and is notably used by Tesla in its Cybertruc design.
A pickup body-on-frame design on the other hand has been a popular choice for manufacturers of trucks and SUVs for many decades and with good reason. This type of vehicle construction separates the body of the vehicle from the underlying frame, which serves as the base for the powertrain and suspension. The body is then mounted on top of this frame, creating a sturdy, robust platform that is ideal for heavy-duty use.
The use of a separate frame in the body-on-frame design provides a number of benefits over other types of vehicle construction. First and foremost, it provides added strength and durability, as the frame is designed to support the weight of the body and any additional cargo or equipment that may be carried on the vehicle. This makes the body-on-frame design well-suited for use in trucks and SUVs, which are often called upon to transport heavy loads, tow heavy trailers, and navigate rough, off-road terrain.
In addition to the strength and durability of the body-on-frame design, it also provides a more flexible and adaptable platform for the powertrain and suspension. The separate frame allows for greater design freedom in terms of the location and placement of components, as well as the integration of new technologies and features. This can lead to improved performance, better handling, and a smoother ride, making it ideal for a wide range of applications.
it is easier to repair and maintain than other types of vehicle construction. In the event of an accident or other damage to the body, the separate frame can be easily repaired or replaced without affecting the underlying powertrain and suspension. This can significantly reduce the cost and downtime associated with repairs, making the body-on-frame design a more cost-effective option for truck and SUV owners.
It gives added the ability to customize the vehicle’s body and powertrain. The frame can be customized to suit the needs of different models, which allows for greater flexibility in the design of the vehicle. This can result in a wider range of vehicles that can be built on the same platform. One particularly good example of this on the r1t is the gear tunnel
One of the benefits mentioned earlier was the ability to customize the vehicle’s body and powertrain. This customization can extend to a wide range of aspects, from the exterior design to the powertrain components. For example, the frame can be lengthened or shortened to accommodate different wheelbases, which can greatly impact the overall handling and ride quality of the vehicle. This can be seen with the R1S and the R1T of which the former is merely a shortened wheelbase version of the latter so as to better accommodate an SUV with a sensible length.
The pickup body-on-frame design is a tried-and-true solution for trucks and SUVs Rivian has added its own touch of engineering to it, giving its vehicles tremendous advantages over others.
Rivian’s unique body-on-frame architecture is a game-changer in the world of electric vehicles. The first thing that stands out is the Skateboard concept, which is a frame that looks like a typical frame for a pickup truck, but with some key differences. The frame has a big open space, and it’s missing cross members, which results in a loss of torsional rigidity. But, Rivian makes up for this loss by hard-mounting the body to the frame, which increases structural rigidity and packaging space for the battery pack. This means Rivian does not use dampening materials between the frame and the body. The body is mounted directly on the frame.
The inside of the frame rail is about nine inches wider on the Rivian than on a normal light-duty pickup truck. This allows for a two-layer battery pack without any impingements from the frame structure. Additionally, Rivian gains this space on a narrower application, making it an efficient and impressive design choice. The use of an aluminum Skateboard platform is a great example of the innovative thinking that Rivian brings to the electric vehicle market. The platform houses the battery pack, powertrain, and suspension components, which provide a low center of gravity and help to increase the stability and handling of the vehicle. The design also allows for greater flexibility in the design of the vehicle’s body, as the frame can be customized to suit the needs of different models.
One of the major advantages of this design is the improvement in packaging space for the battery pack. With the open space in the frame and the lack of cross members, the battery pack can be placed in a two-layer configuration without any impingements from the frame structure. This allows for a larger battery pack and a longer range for the vehicle. Additionally, the open space in the frame also allows for better cooling of the battery pack, which helps to increase the overall efficiency and longevity of the battery.
Another advantage of this design is the increased structural rigidity. By hard-mounting the body to the frame, the body becomes an integral part of the structure, which increases the overall rigidity and strength of the vehicle. This improves the handling and stability of the vehicle, as well as the overall safety of the vehicle. In addition, the hard mounting of the body also improves the overall energy efficiency of the vehicle, as it reduces the amount of energy lost due to flexing and twisting of the body.
The design also allows for improved isolation and improved ride and handling. Instead of using engineered rubber elements isolators that separate the frame of the body, Rivian hard-mounts the body to the frame. This results in a loss of isolation, but it picks up all of the structural rigidity from the bond. The Body is now essentially just planted and bolted right onto the frame. This improves the overall ride and handling of the vehicle, as well as the overall safety of the vehicle. The hard mounting also helps to reduce the amount of noise and vibration that is transmitted to the cabin, providing a more comfortable ride for the passengers.
In addition to the design advantages, Rivian’s body-on-frame architecture also has some environmental benefits. By using an aluminum frame, the weight of the vehicle is reduced, which improves the overall efficiency of the vehicle. Additionally, the use of an aluminum frame also reduces the environmental impact of the vehicle, as it is a more sustainable material than traditional steel frames. Aluminum is also more recyclable than steel, which helps to reduce the environmental impact of the vehicle at the end of its life.
Furthermore, the design enables the vehicle to have better off-road capabilities, as the platform is higher and the center of gravity is lower, which allows for more ground clearance and better stability when driving on rough terrain.
However, this approach also leads to a more intensive mounting process, as more fasteners are needed to control the distance between the body and the frame. The increased number of fasteners is over an order of magnitude more than what is commonly found in a conventional body-on-frame vehicle. Despite some inefficiencies, the structural rigidity gained from the hard mounting helps make up for it, enabling the utilization of the extra packaging space.
Rivian has completely changed the game with its body-on-frame design. the skateboard concept used in the pickup truck is a unique approach that has allowed for a lot of packaging space for the battery pack. The lack of cross members in the frame and the hard mounting of the body to the frame has resulted in a wider frame rail and more packaging space. It’s overall a great car to drive because of its revolutionary body-on-frame design.
Looking at rivians body on frame designs and Tesla’s monocoque cybertruck design, which one do you think is superior? let us know in the comment section below.