Electric vehicle start-up Rivian is on track to launch deliveries of its electric ute and SUV in September, according to a letter sent to reservation holders.
Rivian has two all-electric vehicles – the R1T utility truck and R1S SUV – planned for production, but the company has cited Covid as a reason for delays in its official launch, despite raising billions of dollars.
Initial delivery dates were originally slated for the end of 2021, and a mid-2021 launch again faced a set back with reservation holders told they would be contacted by the end of November.
Now, a reservation holder has shared a letter sent by the company stating that “we are on track to begin deliveries in September”. Given September is now one week away it sounds fairly certain this timeline won’t shift again.
Australia has been identified as a key market by Rivian, but although the EV maker will take pre-orders from overseas markets a timeline for a global expansion has not been made public.
Nevertheless, its addition to the Australian market will no doubt be warmly welcomed, along with other electric utes planned by legacy carmakers such as Ford’s F-150 and GM’s Hummer EV, and of course the outlandish Tesla Cybertruck.
The integral component in electric utes – an electric motor with instant torque – as well as design advantages such as no engine bay, and a built-in power source in the form of a big battery – place them as superior to combustion-powered utes in many ways.
US drivers will soon get the chance to experience this for themselves.
“Over the last several months we have been focussed on not only ramping our production rate, but also dialing in our quality across each of the five areas of our plant: stamping, body, paint, assemble and propulsion (battery and drive units),” the company wrote in the letter shared on Reddit on Sunday.
“This challenging process involved multiple build phases – many of the vehicles from these non-customer build phases have been seen out testing across a range of environments during the last year. These validation, tooling tryout and pilot build vehicles are critical for our ongoing mileage accumulation program that has helped us drive refinements to the product.
“With all of this, I am excited to report we have started producing vehicles that reflect all of our quality iterations and design refinements.
“We are currently working with various governing agencies on the final approvals needed for us to make the first divers to preorder customers in September,” the company wrote.
The company added that it now has service centres in five locations in New York, Washington, Illinois (where its factories are located) and two locations in California.
It also revealed that the first version of a smartphone Rivian app that will allow owners basic controls over their vehicles including use as a phone key, monitoring charging, and managing servicing is ready to go, with more functionality planned in subsequent rollouts.
Reservations for the $US73,000 R1T and $US75,500 R1S Launch editions are full, and orders taken now will be delivered from January 2022 in the US according to the company’s website.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.