According to sources, Rivian, US new electric vehicle startup, has increased production of its debut model R1T to around 200 units per week. Previously, the production ramp-up had been rocky, although the company has postponed the start of production and deliveries several times.
According to Automotive News, which cited company sources, Rivian halted production at its Normal, Illinois, plant in early January for about a week to make corrections and process improvements. In addition, the company was dealing with supply chain bottlenecks and covid outbreaks.
Rivian was producing approximately 50 R1T units per week in December. Rivian completed 2021 with 1,015 vehicles manufactured and 920 delivered, with the first customer vehicle assembled in September. Knowledge gained since then is said to have been integrated into the manufacturing process. However, it remains to be seen how many units per week Rivian’s production can now achieve due to these improvements. As a result, while progress is visible, long-term success will also be dependent on further scaling.
This is also evident from a look at the company’s targets: Rivian’s Normal plant should be able to produce 150,000 electric vehicles per year by 2023 – roughly 3,000 vehicles per week.
The capacity will then be increased to 200,000 vehicles per year. To put it another way, it would take just under seven years to work through the roughly 71,000 pre-orders at a rate of 200 vehicles per week.
However, insiders claim that one-time events have also influenced R1T production thus far. The start of production of the R1S electric SUV on the same assembly line, for example, has slowed production of the R1T pickup. Although some commercial R1S units have already been produced, the company still needs to complete some pre-production work on the SUV. However, this is most likely due to easier manufacturing than vehicle features per se.
The electric delivery van for a major customer and shareholder Amazon will be assembled in Normal on its own line, making it independent of Rivian’s model production. Rivian intends to construct 10,000 Amazon delivery vehicles by the end of 2022.
Rivian announced the construction of a second electric vehicle plant in Georgia, which will be operational in 2024 and capable of producing up to 400,000 electric vehicles per year when completed.