Electric Vehicles

But no dealerships: ​Rivian details plans for nationwide service network

Rivian is poised to make an earnest go of it in the tough U.S. vehicle market.

Photo courtesy of Rivian

On Tuesday's Daily Drive podcast, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe described how customers will get their Riviann R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV serviced once they take delivery. The R1T is slated to go into full production soon.

Like Tesla, Rivian is eschewing the traditional car dealership model and going to all-online sales for their models, a business plan that has hangups in some states where laws haven't met up with the current technology capabilities thanks in large part to lobbying efforts by dealers associations.

Rivian R1S Pirelli has been busy making specialized Scorpion tires for the Rivian R1T and R1S. Photo courtesy of Rivian

Scaringe says that the company's operational service network will be ready before customers begin taking delivery of their vehicles, and that there will be three options for service. Rivian will offer customers the ability to access over-the-air (OTA) updates for the truck or SUV, book a visit to a brick and mortar repair location, and schedule a mobile service fix for their vehicle.

In the next nine months, Scaringe expects 41 service centers to launch as well as a "robust" network of mobile service providers that are able to come to an owner's home or place of business to perform necessary repairs.

Repairs for an electric vehicle involve far less moving parts than for a traditional gasoline- or diesel-powered model. Service for these vehicles typically involves tire rotation, wheel alignments, and replacing parts that typically wear like brake pads and rotors. EV owners do not have to perform oil changes as there is no internal combustion engine that requires such lubricant.

Infrastructure, including charging stations and repair shops, remains a major pain point when it comes to EV adoption. Tesla, the nation's largest EV seller, also conducts service via OTA updates, mobile repair technicians, and service centers. Tesla.com promotes that 80 percent of the repairs their vehicles need can be done outside of a service center. However, comment threads one the internet are dedicated to numerous instances of service centers having vehicles for months waiting for parts to come in.

In pre-COVID times R1S SUV was slated to be the first off the line at Rivian's plant near Chicago, a former Mitsubishi facility. That place is still in place, but the timeline has been pushed back. In the meantime, the company has been promoting the R1T truck by showcasing it's off-road prowess and ability to conduct a tank turn. The truck successfully competed in the Rebelle Rally this year.

Rivian has signed an agreement with Amazon to produce 100,000 electric delivery vans. This year, Rivian made an agreement with Lincoln to create an all-electric SUV based on the Rivian platform, but that agreement has since been dissolved.

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Polestar currently operates four showrooms in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Polestar

Polestar, an electric performance car brand, will be opening 15 new sales locations in the U.S. by the end of 2021. Called Polestar Spaces, the showrooms are more in line with what Tesla offers and less like a traditional auto dealership.

Each Polestar Space features minimalist Scandinavian-like design, pulling together the heritage of the company with a modern sales environment. Each location is staffed by non-commissioned Polestar Specialists. Test drives can be coordinated on-site or at home.

In the next few months, locations in Austin, Texas; Boston; Denver, Seattle; South Florida; and Washington D.C. will open. Those new showrooms will be established in connection with established retailer groups in the area. Additional information regarding the D.C. and Florida locations is expected soon.

2021 Polestar 2 The fastback Polestar 2 is a head-turner. Photo courtesy of Polestar

The second-half of 2021 will welcome the opening of additional showrooms in Atlanta; Central and South New Jersey; Connecticut; Dallas; Detroit; Minneapolis; Phoenix; and Orange County, California.

Specific showroom details are available at Polestar.com/Spaces.

"In 2019 we stated our goal of servicing 85% of the addressable EV market within a year of the Polestar 2 launch," said Gregor Hembrough, Head of Polestar in North America. "With these 2021 appointments, we will accomplish that and more- especially with our free pickup and delivery servicing within 150 miles of a brick-and-mortar Polestar location."

Polestar Spaces are already open in Los Angeles (Santa Monica) and Manhattan, plus two locations in the San Francisco Bay Area (Corte Madera and Santa Clara).

The automaker currently offers the Polestar 2 for sale in the U.S. AutomotiveMap recently had the opportunity to test drive the car for review.

It was recently confirmed that the Polestar Precept concept is headed to production. The concept version of the car is noted for its sustainable materials and minimalist design.

Additionally, Polestar and Koenigsegg are working on a project.

Further markets for expansion will be announced later in 2021.

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New Amazon Fire TV for Auto technology is debuting in the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are set to be unveiled soon. Ahead of those debuts, Jeep has announced that those vehicles will be the first in the industry to integrate Amazon Fire TV for Auto.

Amazon Fire TV for Auto will give Wagoneer family occupants access to their favorite shows, movies, apps, unique vehicle features, and Alexa. It will communicate directly with the SUV's Uconnect 5 infotainment operating system. Just like in other Amazon devices, content syncs with an existing Amazon account. This means that customers will be able to pause a show in their home and seamlessly continue watching once they get into their vehicle.

"The all-new 2022 model-year Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are designed and engineered to set a new standard for American premium in the large SUV segment," said Christian Meunier, Jeep® Brand Chief Executive Officer - Stellantis. "Launching Fire TV for Auto as an industry-first technology to the Wagoneer lineup illustrates one of the many ways we intend to deliver class-leading technology and connectivity to our customers."

Amazon The screen for Amazon Fire TV for Auto looks very similar to what you'd see on a TV at your home.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Amazon

Fire TV for Auto builds on the Fire TV experience that exists today with unique features that include:

  • Passengers can view Fire TV in high definition from the rear seats and the front passenger screen (a privacy filter disables driver viewing). When the vehicle is in park, the driver also can view Fire TV on the main Uconnect 5 screen
  • Touchscreen controls and support for compatible content can be downloaded on trips where wireless service is limited or to save on data
  • A Fire TV for Auto-specific remote provides control of the experience and includes push-to-talk access to Alexa, making it easy to find and quickly play shows
  • The remote includes a button that connects Fire TV with the new Uconnect 5 system for control of vehicle features, such as climate, maps and more

"We reimagined Fire TV for the automobile with a purpose-built experience that delivers the best in entertainment, anywhere you go," said Sandeep Gupta, Vice President and General Manager of Amazon Fire TV. "With Fire TV built in, customers can stream their favorite shows, see if they left the lights on at home with Alexa, and take advantage of unique controls through the Uconnect system."

Fire TV for Auto will be packaged with other connected services and made available in fall 2021 in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

This isn't the first time a Stellantis company has been on the cutting edge of in-vehicle tech. Jeep's stablemate, Ram, was the first to integrate SiriusXM 360L into a vehicle, its 2019 Ram 1500.

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