By on April 10, 2020

Rivian, the future builder of powerful electric pickups and SUVs (and secret parent to an upcoming Lincoln), hoped to have the first of its production models in buyers’ hands before the end of the year. Both the R1T pickup and R1S SUV were on track to roll out of the fledgling automaker’s Normal, Illinois assembly plant in the second half of 2020, reaching consumers just before New Year’s Eve (R1T) and not long after (R1S).

Well, that schedule’s seen a bit of tweaking. Care to hazard a guess why?

In an email to the Chicago Tribune this week, Rivian spokesperson Amy Mast said the launch of both vehicles has been pushed back to 2021 on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Retooling work at the former Mitsubishi plant ceased last month as state after state issued stay-at-home orders, effectively shuttering non-essential businesses and work sites.

“There are 11 Rivian employees there in 2.6 million square feet,” Mast said, adding that, while the plant’s 300 workers have long been sent home, some 60 electrical contractors remain on site, keeping their distance from each other.

Rivian’s two debut products ride atop an in-house “skateboard” electric vehicle platform — a piece of architecture so promising, Ford had to have a part of it. Both the R1T and R1S will eventually be offered with a choice of three battery packs (105, 135, and 180 kWh), up to 750 horsepower (drawn from four electric motors), and a towing capacity of up to 11,000 pounds. Range offered by the loftiest variants will top 400 miles, the automaker claims.

Rivian has been accepting $1,000 deposits from would-be owners for months. Everything seemed to be in place for the automaker to deliver on its heady promises, but then COVID-19 reared its ugly head.

Once production eventually get underway, the company’s electric pickup will soon find no shortage of competitors, as a field of rivals awaits. Among them, General Motors’s upcoming GMC Hummer EV and Tesla’s Cybertruck. Like Rivian, those automakers are similarly idled, waiting, as everyone is, to see when it’s safe to turn the lights back on.

[Image: Rivian]

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12 Comments on “Buyers Waiting on a Rivian Will Have to Wait a Little Longer...”

  • avatar

    because electric pickups make so much sense

    I hope there are no tax credits anywhere for these things

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Of course there are.

      The stated reason for the credit is to encourage people to buy cleaner cars. Given that trucks sell so well, and pollute more than cars, the credit arguably makes more sense for trucks than anything else.

      But vehicles from GM and Tesla won’t be eligible since they have already used up their credits. Ford won’t be far behind.

    • 0 avatar

      Electric trucks are perfect for fleet sales for municipal workers and other trades.

      This truck won’t be as awesome as they’re hyping it up to be, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “Electric trucks are perfect for fleet sales for municipal workers and other trades.”

        100% Agree!

        But………I know how my last 2 PU’s got used over the 24 years I had them and this thing or any EV PU for that matter would not be able to get the job done anytime I left town, which during the summer is pretty much every weekend.

    • 0 avatar
      Pesky Varmint

      1. Not if you want total freedom of mobility.

      2. Not if you live in an off grid solar only house (the cost of solar power to support charging the vehicle ruins the cost of ownership along with the exorbitant purchase price)

      I’ve offered a few Tesla owners a $1000 to outrun me in a 1000 mile round trip race. Tesla vs. my Mustang GT. With the Mustang GT on a trailer behind my Duramax equipped with enough tankage for an 1800 mile range.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Tesla owners only care about performance when it is the narrow range where their cars outperform other cars (0-60 sprints, 1/4 mile runs and non repeatable hot laps).

        When you actually want to race them in something outside of that they will say nobody cares about that, argue it to be pointless, and berate you for polluting while enjoying your car at the track.

        EVs are in general terrible race cars competitive only with other EVs in dumbed down racing series that run lengths that are fractions of normal, established racing series. Even at the strip they are grudge night heroes…nobody is running them at the upper echelons of the sport.

        I have seen 2 at the track. I don’t know if their batteries were good for the session or not…they both were chunking their tires early on (yeah, weight down low is still Mass in a turn…who knew?)

        Those hot laps at the ring, and Laguna Seca? Well I guess if you want to run one lap and call it a day that’s cool.

        At the end of the day, most of the junk at a Lemons race or on a Roadkill episode makes a better honest to God race car.

        • 0 avatar
          Pesky Varmint

          Tesla owners forget that fundamental dimension of the word speed is time and distance. What their cars have is acceleration. Amusing and useful at times, but electric vehicles are not the way to get somewhere distant in a short amount of time, nor to wander around the countryside aimlessly in as you might do on a driving vacation. We can get in our combustion vehicles with zero route planning. Freedom of mobility.

          • 0 avatar

            @Varmint: “electric vehicles are not the way to get somewhere distant in a short amount of time”

            ICE cars aren’t the way to get somewhere distant in a short amount of time either.

            Don’t know what you mean by distant. With any of the EVs I’m considering to replace my current one, I should be able to drive for at least 3 hours before needing a charge. If I’m wandering country roads, I can go even further for a longer amount of time. There is route planning on ICE vehicles. Gas station hours can be an issue in some places. There are also places where it’s easier to find an RV campground with a NEMA 14-50 outlet to plug in a level 2 charger than an open gas station.

            I still fail to see the issue with stopping, for example. for 30 to 45 minutes in the middle of a 500-mile drive. “Oh, it’s got to be just a 5-minute stop or I’ll just die!”. Yeah, right. I’d rather have the time saved by avoiding oil changes and weekly fueling trips over the rest of the year.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Teslas have been holding their value pretty well in the used market, but I wonder how long that will continue. Batteries don’t last forever, and replacing a 70+ KWh battery in an EV has to be at least a $15K proposition, though admittedly, I’ve not priced it out.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Tesla battery degradation is the lowest in the EV market, and this is well documented.

      Last time I checked, degradation is about 3% or less per year. YMMV.

      Whether that much loss is acceptable is up to the buyer.

      • 0 avatar

        Tesla (along with other companies) has been improving electrode coating technology every year. It’s difficult to say what a Tesla bought today would have for durability. Soon, whenever the new patent technology gets implemented, battery degradation will be a non-issue.

  • avatar

    What, no mention of the Amazon order for 100,000 delivery vans? That one alone is several billion in sales. Rivian is claiming to have a new battery design and it will be interesting to see how it compares to Tesla’s.

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