First Ever Rivian R1T Customer Delivery is Complete

The first production versions of the Rivian R1T electric adventure pickup truck have rolled off the assembly line at the company’s factory in Normal, Illinois. This marks a huge milestone more than a decade in the making for the automaker, its founder and CEO, RJ Scaringe, and every preorder holder that has been anxiously waiting till now. This milestone shows that the much-awaited delivery of these trucks to customers is eminent.

Rivian started its journey as an electric automaker in 2009. The automaker started with the development of a sports car and completely changed direction to make the best adventure electric truck they could. That is when they adopted the Rivian name two years down the line. Rivian has witnessed explosive growth in terms of people, backers, and partners in the past few years.
The celebratory first car Scaringe tweeted of the first production truck is painted in the iconic Rivian Blue.

“After months of building pre-production vehicles, this morning our first customer vehicle drove off our production line in Normal, ” he wrote in the tweet. “Our team’s collective efforts have made this moment possible. Can’t wait to get these into the hands of our customers!”

What isn’t clear is who will get this first customer vehicle.

Rivian operated in relative obscurity, aka stealth mode, for years before it revealed prototypes of its all-electric R1T truck and R1S SUV at the LA Auto Show in late 2018.
Since then, Rivian has raised billions of dollars ($10.5 billion since 2019); expanded its Normal, Illinois, factory; hired thousands of employees; landed Amazon as a commercial customer; and, most recently, filed confidentially for an IPO. Today, in addition to its Illinois factory, Rivian has facilities in Palo Alto and Irvine, California; and Plymouth, Michigan; and an office in the U.K.

When it first revealed the two electric vehicles in 2018, Rivian had about 600 employees. Today, it has 8,000.

Scaringe’s announcement Tuesday, which marks the official beginning of R1T production for customers, comes after at least two delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and global chip shortage. Earlier this summer, Scaringe wrote in a letter to customers that R1T deliveries would begin in September, with the R1S to follow “shortly.”

Rivian has been juggling the dueling priorities of prepping and eventually producing the R1T and R1S for consumers and commercial delivery vans for Amazon. The Illinois factory has two separate production lines producing vehicles. One is dedicated to the R1 vehicles and the other line is for its commercial vans. Amazon ordered 100,000 of these vans, with deliveries starting in 2021. Earlier this year, Amazon began testing the electric delivery van in several cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The first units of the R1T off the line are the Launch Edition examples that start at $73,000, offering a 314-mile range courtesy of a 135-kWh battery, and a 1760-lb payload capacity. An even larger battery pack is on the way a bit later, promising to give the R1T a range of about 400 miles, though production of the SUV, slated to offer 316 miles of range according to recently published EPA figures, is expected to start before that later this year, once again in Launch Edition flavor.

The official range and fuel economy values posted on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website align with Rivian’s previous estimates, which is advertised as 300 miles.
The moment is also important because it means Rivian has the benefit of being the first electric truck on the market. Rivian had been racing to start mass production, which was originally slated for late 2020, with the delays at one point making it look like Tesla could begin building its Cybertruck first. The Cybertruck has now been pushed back to late 2022 for several technical reasons, with GMC’s Hummer being the only other mass-produced electric truck model slated to begin production in late 2021 if the schedule holds. with Ford’s F-150 Lightning due to follow in the spring of 2022.

Ford’s F-150 Lightning, which isn’t expected to come on the market until spring 2022, has a targeted range of 230 miles in the standard and up to 300 miles in the extended version. The EPA has not issued official ranges for the Ford Lightning.
Rivian’s “Launch Edition” R1T truck and R1S SUV come equipped with a 135 kWh battery pack that is branded as the “large pack.” Deliveries of the Launch Edition vehicles are slated to begin this month.

Like Tesla, the company has also been busy building its own EV charging system, dubbed the Rivian Adventure Network, with the goal of installing a large number of DC fast chargers across the US for the exclusive use by owners of its vehicles, in addition to a universally available Waypoint network for all other EVs.

The R1S will also be built at the Normal plant which in a previous life built Mitsubishis. Rivian will also build delivery vans for Amazon at the site, and in July the company said it is seeking a location for a second U.S. plant, no doubt in anticipation of future additions to the lineup.

Hanson F.
Hanson is a lover of electric cars especially Rivian. He is a contributor for The Volter as well as other news hubs

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