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