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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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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The engine bay is decorated with images of the American flag.

Photo courtesy of Karl Kustoms

A new customized 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 pays tribute to members of the U.S. military. Karl Kustoms, a Chevrolet Performance retailer and custom shop, recently completed the build in partnership with Bad Boy Vettes. Nearly every panel of the Corvette has been modified to honor a military branch. Even the underside of the hood and engine bay have been artistically sprayed.

"It is a privilege to take on a custom project like this and use our skills to honor our nation's military," Clint Quesinberry, Digital Marketing Specialist. "This Memorial Day, we are proud to recognize those who served."

Karl Kustons US military 2016 Chevrolet Corvette The model started its life as a 2016 Chevy Corvette.Photo courtesy of Karl Kustoms

Unique features include detailed lettering of the words "Honor, Duty, Country", three words given an important place in military history after they were uttered by General Douglas MacArthur in 1962 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as part of his farewell address. There's also imagery of a U.S. Army helicopter firing at a Russian helicopter, a serviceman with a German Shepard, the U.S.S. Iowa battleship, and Arlington Cemetery stones with Medal of Honor recipients from each major conflict.

Karl Kustons US military 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Military imagery features throughout the body work.Photo courtesy of Karl Kustoms

The car was created as a full-time show car and is currently on display at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It will remain there through the end of 2021 before traveling throughout the country at a variety of car events throughout 2022.

The customized Corvette is also a contender for the 2021 International Show Car Association (ISCA) Car of the Year.

Karl Kustons US military 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Imagery is featured on the body and under the hood.Photo courtesy of Karl Kustoms

"We did what we could to take this thing over the top," said Ed Birmingham, Karl Kustoms Painter. "I sat there for hours doing the detail work. I spent more time than I would normally spend on a hood, but it all paid off."

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