Could Rivian Be the Reason Cybertruck Range Extender Is Delayed?

Tesla recently delivered the first Cybertrucks, along with over 20 optional accessories including a “Range Extender” battery pack that adds up to 130 miles of range. However, Tesla has not provided details on availability or pricing for the range extender. 

This has led to speculation that the release may be delayed due to a potential conflict with a patent held by Rivian. In 2018, Rivian filed and was granted in 2020 a patent for an “Electric Vehicle With Modular Removable Auxiliary Battery With Integrated Cooling.”

source: Google Patents

The patent description states: “An electric vehicle system for transporting human passengers or cargo includes an electric vehicle that includes a body, a plurality of wheels, a cargo area, an electric motor for propelling the electric vehicle, and a primary battery for providing electrical power to the electric motor for propelling the electric vehicle. An auxiliary battery module is attachable to the electric vehicle for providing electrical power to the electric motor via a first electrical connector at the auxiliary battery module and a second electrical connector at the electric vehicle that mates with the first electrical connector. The auxiliary battery module can be positioned in the cargo area while supplying power to the electric motor, and can be removable and reattachable from the electric vehicle. The auxiliary battery module includes an integrated cooling system for cooling itself during operation of the electric vehicle including a conduit therein for circulating coolant.”

Our Thoughts

I am not a patent attorney, so analyzing the legal implications requires speculation. Tesla may be considering three options:

  1. Making the range extender non-removable to avoid conflicting with Rivian’s patent on removability. 
  2. Licensing Rivian’s patent through some fee arrangement.
  3. Challenging the validity of Rivian’s patent if they believe it constitutes “patent squatting” without having a product on market.

The coming months may see developments between the two companies on this front. I will provide updates if more information becomes available.

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