Buyers Waiting on a Rivian Will Have to Wait a Little Longer

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
buyers waiting on a rivian will have to wait a little longer

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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4 of 12 comments
  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Apr 10, 2020

    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.

  • TimK TimK on Apr 10, 2020

    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.

  • Del My father bought GM cars in the 60's, but in 1971 he gave me a used Datsun (as they were called back then), and I'm now in my 70's and am happy to say that GM has been absent from my entire adult life. This article makes me gladder than ever.
  • TheEndlessEnigma That's right GM, just keep adding to that list of reasons why I will never buy your products. This, I think, becomes reason number 69, right after OnStar-Cannot-Be-Disabled-And-It-Comes-Standard-Whether-Or-Not-You-Want-It and Screw-You-American-Car-Buyer-We-Only-Make-Trucks-And-SUVs.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Does this not sound and feel like the dawn of ICE automobiles in the early 20th century, but at double or triple speed speed!!There were a bunch of independent car markers by the late 1910’s. By the mid 20’s, we were dropping down to 10 or 15 producers as Henry was slashing the price of the Model T. The Great Depression hit, and we are down to the big three and several independents. For EVs, Tesla bolted out of the gate, the small three are in a mad dash to keep up. Europe was caught flat footed due to the VW scandal. Lucid, Lordstown, & Rivian are scrambling to up production to generate cash. Now the EV leader has taken a page from the Model T and is slashing prices putting the rest of the EV market in a tail spin. Deja vu……
  • Michael Eck With those mods, I wonder if it's tuned...
  • Mike-NB2 I'm not a Jeep guy, but I really, really like the 1978 Jeep Cherokee 4xe concept.