Rivian Announces Membership Plan With Complimentary Charging and LTE Connectivity

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. With this milestone achieved, Rivian continues to prepare for the official debut of its first EVs later this month.

Rivian introduced a membership program called Rivian Membership that has several features that should interest owners of the vehicles. Rivian Membership includes unlimited free charging on the Rivian Adventure Network and at all Rivian Waypoints chargers across the country. Those charging networks should come online later this year.

“We’re introducing Rivian Membership as a way to build our community and encourage a deeper appreciation for the natural world around us”

The tweet has since been deleted.

Rivian is ensuring every mile owners drive with electricity from their charging network is matched with renewable energy resources from wind and solar. The offset is done whether the user is charging on the Rivian Adventure Network, Waypoints, or at home. Rivian buys renewable energy to match the owner’s use, even at a partner charger network.

Membership also offers Off-Roadside Assistance as additional coverage that includes something called Adventure Extraction. What that feature does for owners is send someone with specialized equipment to extract the vehicle if it gets stuck on a trail. Another cool feature of Membership is called Charge Assurance.

With Charge Assurance, if the vehicle owner runs out of electricity and can’t go any further, Rivian will send help to get the vehicle charged. It’s unclear what form that help will take, presumably a tow to a nearby charging station. Membership also gives owners access to Rivian gatherings and events.

The company also promised to add additional perks in the future, including new drive modes, community meetups, and in-cabin content. Each new Rivian vehicle will come with 12 months of free access to the service. After that, you’ll need to pay to continue enjoying the perks of the membership. The company hasn’t said how much it plans to charge for the service, so we’ve reached out to it for more information.

Memberships is always a great way to continue getting revenue on an item over its lifetime. We don’t yet know if this program has enough features to entice owners of Rivian vehicles to join or continue paying after the free trial program is over. That will also greatly depend on the cost of the program. Hopefully, Rivian makes it low enough to be worth it.

The best feature of the bunch is free unlimited charging on the Rivian Adventure network. As of now, only one waypoint charging station with two stalls has been spotted at the Under Canvas resort north of Moab. The chargers are level two chargers that are capable of charging at a rate of up to 11.5 kilowatts. This is the same rate or specification for Rivian home Wall Charger which Rivian plans to sell alongside the cars for any home charging needs.

That makes it hardly compelling. Can Rivian build fast-charging stations fast enough to encourage customers to keep paying after the trial period is over?

Assuming deliveries start this month, that means Rivian has one year to build a compelling network of chargers to make this program compelling for the first Rivian owners to start paying. Then again, how many cars can Rivian deliver within these first few months? Speculatively, this program may become compelling only after about two to 3 years of Rivian deliveries. In which time Rivian may build enough charging stations.

EV go has a similar membership program howbeit, only charging services are rendered. The company offers three ways to pay for charging on its network across the country. There’s the typical pay-as-you-go option, which has the highest price-per-minute of charging and requires a $1.99 fee for each charging session. There’s a basic membership program that requires $4.99 per month of pre-payments toward charging, but which waives the session and (in most locations) offers per-minute rates that cost a few cents less. A higher-tier $6.99 per-month subscription plan called EV go Plus that drops the session fees and offers even more affordable pricing, and waives the $3 fee for reserving a charging stall.

Its unclear if Rivian plans to offer this membership program in tiers or just one tier for all. Multiple tiers with different sets of features sound more compelling so that each person can select and pay for a plan that is most suited for his car and activities. The off-road assistance feature may be irrelevant for someone who only uses the car for city commutes and goes off-road once a year. Some may prepare to share connectivity from their phones which some may be 5G capable.

That said, I am excited about the program and look forward to seeing how Rivian roles it out.

Hanson F.https://thevolter.com
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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