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 new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is coming soon to a LEGO store near you.

Photo courtesy of LEGO

The Jeep Wrangler has fans the world over. For those fans whose extracurricular activities include LEGO building along with Jeeping, there's a new LEGO Technic model they'll want to take a look at. The LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the first LEGO model of a Jeep SUV.

Ask any Jeep Wrangler owner and they'll tell you that their vehicle is just a bigger version of this new LEGO set," said Mark Allen, Head of Jeep Design. "The design of the Jeep Wrangler allows them to take it apart, top off, doors off, reconfigure it, add new pieces from our Mopar team, and then put it back together again. This LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler should bring a new level of joy to our Jeep enthusiasts and help inspire future designers to the brand."

LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Photo courtesy of LEGO

The 665-piece model features all the classic Jeep hallmarks - a performance 4x4 system, rugged tires, fold-down rear seats, and a seven-slot grille. It features a button operated front steering system and axle-articulation suspension. It has a yellow-and-black color scheme.

"The Jeep Wrangler is an icon in the off-road world" says Lars Thygesen, Designer, LEGO Technic. "The Rubicon has a lot of the iconic details loved by 4x4 fans the world over, so it was important to me to pack as many of the authentic, powerful features of the real vehicle into the LEGO Technic replica. I hope LEGO fans and vehicle lovers enjoy all aspects including the suspension, winch and open air design that we developed alongside the talented Jeep design team."

The LEGO Technic Jeep Wrangler is designed for Jeep and LEGO fans alike, aged 9 and above. It will be available from January 1st 2021 from LEGO.com, LEGO stores and other retailers globally, priced at [49.99€/49.99$/£44.99].

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Audi is only making the car for U.S. customers.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The 2021 Audi R8 Panther special edition is one of the rarer gifts you can get for your garage this holiday season. With a limited run of 30 coupes in the works, the R8 Panther edition models are the first available units in the R8 rear-wheel-drive model line and available only for U.S. customers.

If the name sounds familiar to you, that's because it should. The R8 Panther edition joins the 2019 RS 5 Panther edition, which was also a limited run and featured the same paint color and interior upholstery.

2021 Audi R8 Panther The hallmarks of the model include its black paint job and red-edged wheels.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The unique 2021 R8 Panther comes covered in an Audi-exclusive Panther Black crystal effect paint job with carbon exterior mirror housings. Its badging has been coated in black. The model rides on 20-inch five-double-spoke dynamic design wheels that have been milled cut, finished in matte black with red trim, and wrapped in summer performance tires.

Your neighbors will hear you leaving the cul-de-sac thanks to the car's sport exhaust system, which amplifies the sound of the V10 engine. LED headlights and LED taillights, with dynamic turn signals will help their eyes follow your path on the way out as they peer out their windows.

The R8 Panther is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V1 engine that produces 532 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, and sprints from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. It has a top track speed of 201 mph.

The chassis of the R8 Panther edition has been specifically adapted for rear-wheel drive, including using solid rear axles as opposed to hollow, a stiffer front anti-roll bar, and an increase in rear negative camber.

2021 Audi R8 Panther

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The model has a full black leather interior with Crimson red stitching. Its racing shells seats are covered in red Nappa leather and have power height and manual fore/art seat adjustment. The car's gear selector and parcel shelf are covered in Alcantara, and the headliner features a diamond-stitched Alcantara. Audi has given the model a brand-exclusive steering wheel with leather/Alcantara and 12 o'clock marker as well as exclusive R8 floor mats with Crimson red leather edging.

Audi virtual cockpit, Audi smartphone interface, Audi phone box with signal booster, navigation, a 13-speaker Bang & Olufson sound system, and illuminated door sill inlays are included.

A carbon exterior package adds carbon fiber to the engine compartment and carbon sigma sideblades while the carbon interior package adds carbon fiber high-gloss surrounds for both the virtual cockpit and the air vents, as well as the center console.

The 2021 R8 Panther edition will be available in select dealerships this month with an MSRP of $183,300. There is an additional $1,495 destination charge, $1,700 gas guzzler tax, sales taxes, title, options, and dealer charges.

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