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About 4 months ago my buddy Jeff, (Feb 2019 R1S LE Order) showed me a post over at rivianownersforum.com from Danny C who had fit a small 12V DC electric cooler in his R1T frunk. Jeff is an avid camper and was a bit bummed out about the unusual dimensions of the R1 precluding any good sized electric coolers—in the 40 quart size range.
He asked me how hard it would be to design and manufacture a lower profile 40 quart 12V DC cooler specifically for the R1 platform—which is not as odd a question as it seems because I have 20+ years experience as a product design and manufacturing engineer, including roto-molding. IOW it's my day job.

We got to talking about his coolers for camping, the Dometic style in overlanding, and if it would even be possible for the frunk to use such a unit with more volume than current retail units offer.

We bounced ideas and concepts around for about 4 months, worked with the great Sue Smith from Munro & Associates for engineering assets, and DuckTruck let us poke around his R1T to take hundreds of photos.

The design brief ended up being a clean-sheet 40 quart powered refrigerator/freezer to specifically fit in, and work with, the R1 platform: highly robust, field repairable, functional, and likely to outlast the Rivian itself.

While working on the cooler design and where it would live in the frunk, we came up with the addition of a 12 gallon, (45 liter) potable water tank to sit in the lower well of the frunk: DC powered pump, solid state fill limit switch, baffled interior, wash-down sprayer, and sturdy enough to replace the stock frunk folding deck.

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We are aware that Rivian stopped adding the 12V DC plug in the frunk at around VIN 12.000

That means the customer base with the plug is about 12,000 trucks already delivered. On the (possibly) plus side this post shows that Rivian left the wiring and only removed the plug:

https://www.rivianownersforum.com/f...none-in-frunk-for-r1t.8716/page-6#post-214058

It is looking like adding the plug back is not all that difficult or expensive. If there is sufficient interest from owners with VIN's after 12,000 we can put together a small kit with the plug and any connectors needed, as well as a how to video.

Also, for those unsure about running an electric cooler in the frunk, several owners have already been running them without issue. Some even took the time to record actual in use temperature data and share it here:

https://www.rivianownersforum.com/forum/threads/vehicle-fridge-temperature-impact-in-frunk.5074/

We will be putting up a private forum in the next week or so for anyone who wants to reserve--the hope being we can get 200 - 300 people wanting the cooler, the water tank, or both and move ahead with production.

Pricing is not final but the cooler is looking like $550 - $600 and the water tank with pump, electronic fill sensor, and sprayer will be in the $150 - $200 range.

Until then I am happy to answer any questions in here.
Sign me up for both please!
 

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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
A few updates:

The site is mostly done--they are just trouble shooting the private messaging. I will post the link when it's "ready for company" =)

I made the changes to 12 gal frunk water tank. Some renders below for your reference.

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There have also been a lot of people asking for a larger ice chest version of the frunk cooler so I have been working on the design for that in a 60 qt version--also shown below.

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I may or may not leave the aluminum face plate on the front and back. I think they would be great if if matched to Rivian's body paint colors, but otherwise they don't serve any real purpose on the ice chest version.

Drain plugs on both ends. Styling cues from the R1T's design language. Super insulated and low profile enough to fit in the frunk or under the bed cover. 60 quart capacity.
 

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Hi @Gene,

More nice work, thanks for the update. Looking forward to the new site, but let me add a comment:

It's important (to me) that whatever is done here be available by spring. Because that is when I will start to need this on my adventures. If it's not available before that time, then I will have to go with an ICECO in the bed, and won't want to purchase a second solution. Yours is much nicer and works with the vehicle better, so that's what I would prefer.

I sense a bit of reluctance on your part to front the money without a firm commitment from a sufficient number of people. You may not get that, because many (most?) people won't commit at this level of development and because I think that you have so far reached only a small fraction of Rivian owners through your forum posts. Yet you have received an overwhelmingly positive response, so I suggest you take the risk and just do it - I think you will find you can sell every one of these you can make. Choose an initial batch size to get a price break on your components - maybe 1000 units - then trust your own judgement to produce the best item you can with the feedback you've already received. Then you can ship by April. By then there will be over 30,000 Rivians on the road and rapidly growing, and IMO most of the people who see your product will want one. You can minimize your cash outlay by taking deposits, but maybe give us initial "investors" a price that is break-even or minimal profit since we are sharing the risk with you, then when you start delivering you can sell at a higher price.

This is somewhat of a seasonal item. If it's available for the season it will be a hit. If you miss the season, it will still be a hit IMO but it will take you far longer to recover your initial investment. I think it's a bigger risk to wait than it is to charge ahead right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #109 ·
Hi @Gene,

More nice work, thanks for the update. Looking forward to the new site, but let me add a comment:

It's important (to me) that whatever is done here be available by spring. Because that is when I will start to need this on my adventures. If it's not available before that time, then I will have to go with an ICECO in the bed, and won't want to purchase a second solution. Yours is much nicer and works with the vehicle better, so that's what I would prefer.

I sense a bit of reluctance on your part to front the money without a firm commitment from a sufficient number of people. You may not get that, because many (most?) people won't commit at this level of development and because I think that you have so far reached only a small fraction of Rivian owners through your forum posts. Yet you have received an overwhelmingly positive response, so I suggest you take the risk and just do it - I think you will find you can sell every one of these you can make. Choose an initial batch size to get a price break on your components - maybe 1000 units - then trust your own judgement to produce the best item you can with the feedback you've already received. Then you can ship by April. By then there will be over 30,000 Rivians on the road and rapidly growing, and IMO most of the people who see your product will want one. You can minimize your cash outlay by taking deposits, but maybe give us initial "investors" a price that is break-even or minimal profit since we are sharing the risk with you, then when you start delivering you can sell at a higher price.

This is somewhat of a seasonal item. If it's available for the season it will be a hit. If you miss the season, it will still be a hit IMO but it will take you far longer to recover your initial investment. I think it's a bigger risk to wait than it is to charge ahead right now.
Any one or all of the projects could be ready by spring If production begins by January. We will see how much interest there is and how many people want to sign up.

I appreciate your kind words on the design and you are 100% correct that I am reluctant to start production until I am reasonably sure there is enough interest. You mentioned being confident and just going for it with a 1,000 unit run. For some perspective, that would be over $400,000 just for the 40 quart 12VDC cooler and another $250,000 for the 12 gallon frunk water tank. The Roof Rack with 12 gallon solar water heater would be about $600,000. I am not wealthy by any stretch and even if I were there is just no way I could justify risking $1,250,000 like that. I am fine putting in $20,000 as a show of good faith for the group--everyone has some skin in the game that way so to speak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #110 ·
OK, the site for signing up is finally live. There may be a few bugs early on--just let me know if you have any issues.


There are sign up lists for the 40 quart 12VDC powered frunk cooler / freezer, the 60 quart low profile ice chest for frunk or under the bed cover, and the 12 gallon frunk water tank with sprayer.

There is also a new Roof Rack project for the R1T we are calling R [=0===0=] F that has a 12 gallon solar water heater, an easily removable full sized 400W - 500W solar panel, a 20 inch LED bar light, and a slide out shower stall. Lot's of other features. I am posting some images below. You can get more information and give feedback on the design at the link above.

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Discussion Starter · #112 ·

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Discussion Starter · #114 ·
Do we need to register and sign up on the other forum to express interest, or did you take note of our interest from this forum?
Sorry but just assuming people want to sign up based on their posts feels a little like "harvesting" or something else invasive. I know it is a bit of a hassle to have to sign up at another forum but I feel a lot more comfortable with those interested in signing up opting in rather than having to opt out at some point because they seemed interested on a random forum post.

It also makes it a lot easier to keep everyone up to up to date on the progress of each project if they are in one central "area". You won't be getting email spammed or daily "news letters" or anything annoying like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #117 ·
I made a structural revision to the water tank body.

Originally there was a single center 3 inch deep "rib" that stiffened the top and worked as a baffle to keep water from sloshing while cornering. I changed it to a pair of top to bottom columns--it would maybe be more accurate to call them "support walls"--that still work as baffles but now provide more structure for heavy items resting on top of the tank.

The change likely cost us 1/4 gallon of total capacity--from 12.5 down to 12.25 gallons--but worth it IMO as it will stiffen up the tank quite a bit.

I am including some images of the change below. If you're not 100% clear on how the support walls work internally, just let me know and I can add a cross section view.

Unless anyone has suggestions for other changes they might like to see, it is looking like we are about ready to 3D print a prototype and test the fit.

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Do you plan to do pre-orders only, pre-orders + some additional stock for latecomers, multiple rounds, ...?

(Sorry if I've missed this answered somewhere in the thread - tried looking for it!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #119 ·
Do you plan to do pre-orders only, pre-orders + some additional stock for latecomers, multiple rounds, ...?

(Sorry if I've missed this answered somewhere in the thread - tried looking for it!)
The plan is to have anyone interested sign up here. Then, if / when we get to the minimum number required to make a production run possible, have everyone that signed up place a reservation. The production run will be for those who reserved. There may be future production runs but those would also be based on people or possibly re-sellers who have pre-registered. If re-sellers get involved the prices will of course need to increase as they need to make a profit.

I understand that this is a bit of a convoluted way of doing things, but to be candid, my skill set is in product design and manufacturing. Not in marketing, social media, or running a store. If we ran extra stock there is a good chance it would just end up sitting here in Texas because I would be busy designing and manufacturing new products =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #120 ·
* * * UPDATE * * *

Thanks for all the support guys =)


We are coming up on 70 group members signed up for the 12 gallon frunk tank which is enough to get going on 3D printing a test article. I've ordered a large format FDM printer big enough to print the water tank in just four pieces.

Hopefully it will only take a few days to dial in the new printer. I will keep you guys updated on how it is progressing.

Again, special thanks to everyone in the group that has signed up and provided suggestions. It looks like W [=0===0=] TR is going to be the first project to enter production =)
 
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