COVID-19

Production of Rivian R1T, R1S models postponed due to pandemic

Preparations to bring the Rivian plant in Normal, Illinois up to speed have slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo courtesy of Rivian

Until the COVID-19 pandemic halted much of the automotive industry from supplier to salesman, Rivian had been set to begin production of their all-electric R1T truck and R1S SUV in the coming months. Now, reporting by The Chicago Tribune indicates that the company's timeline for launch has been pushed back to 2021. Rivian has since confirmed the delay.

The R1S SUV was slated to be the first off the line at Rivian's plant near Chicago, a former Mitsubishi facility. Rivian counts Ford and Amazon among its investors with Ford's luxury arm Lincoln planning to use the Rivian SUV's underpinnings for an electric Lincoln SUV. Amazon is working with the company on an electric delivery van.

Detroit-Hamtramck Plant Last Impala General Motors, Ford, and FCA plants are among those shut down by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Photo courtesy of General Motors

The plant currently has 11 workers and 60 contractors in its 2.6 million square feet of space, all of whom are practicing social distancing and mostly doing electrical work as retooling of the facility continues, according to Rivian spokesperson Amy Mast. Mast also told the Tribune that all Rivian employees are being paid in full during the business slowdown.

Rivian isn't the only automaker hurt by the global health crisis. Most U.S. automobile factories are shut down and the two of the largest buying markets in the world - China and the U.S. - have seen their economies come to a virtual standstill in Q1 due to the virus.

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New electric pickup truck

Ford F-150 Lightning will charge other EVs

The F-150 Lightning and F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid offer charging abilities for other EVs.

Ford

This year is the year of the electric truck, as there have been several new models announced and two released. The Ford F-150 Lightning won’t be here until next year, but today, Ford outlined the truck’s impressive electric power capabilities. Even the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid truck has plenty to like and offers many of the same benefits.

Ford Electric Trucks Both trucks feature an onboard generator.Ford

The F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid and F-150 Lightning offer charging capabilities that can help another EV owner out in a pinch. Ford says the vehicles can add up to 20 miles of range per hour to the Mustang Mach-E with RWD and up to 13 miles of charging hour for the F-150 Lightning. The trucks deliver Level 2 charging speeds, and the PowerBoost Hybrid’s available 7.2-kilowatt Pro Power Onboard generator can power tools and other equipment, while the F-150 Lightning will debut with an available 9.6 kilowatt generator.

The F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid saw action as a generator during last year’s major winter storms in Texas and elsewhere. As owners’ homes lost power, their trucks were able to step in and handle power duties for small appliances and even home heating systems. The move to include the capability in the upcoming F-150 Lightning is a smart one, as many automakers include some degree of power output for their EVs, but a truck’s life is filled with times when a power source is a big bonus.

Ford Electric Trucks Level 2 charging speeds are possible.Ford

These are neat features, to be sure, but they’re not just a novelty. Ford notes that the F-150 Lightning can power an average home for up to thre days in the event of a major power outlet. Without the need to carry a large engine under its hood, the truck also features a massive front trunk, or frunk, that offers multiple power outlets on top of a lockable 14 cubic-foot storage space.

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New electric pickup truck

GMC Hummer EV deliveries to start soon

Hummer EV deliveries will start in December.

GMC

This year has turned out to be as difficult for automakers as 2020 was, if not much more so. The pandemic is still a major factor, and to make matters worse there's a global microchip shortage that heavily impacts automakers' ability to build tech-heavy vehicles. GMC has a big launch left to handle in 2021, and according to a recent call with journalists, it's proceeding as planned. On a recent call with reporters, GMC exec Duncan Aldred noted that Hummer EV pickup deliveries are on track to begin in December. He also elaborated on the truck's EPA range numbers.

2023 GMC Hummer EV The trucks will deliver up to 329 miles on a charge. GMC

The Hummer's EPA range lands at 329, not far from the 350 miles General Motors targeted for the vehicle. Those are the estimates for the limited Hummer Edition 1, which carries a six-figure price tag and gobs of bells and whistles. Aldred said that other models coming later on will offer longer range estimates when they hit the roads sometime in 2023.

A staggering 80 percent of reservations GMC has gathered so far are for the Edition 1 model. Almost half of the 125,000 people who have inquired about the Hummer EV have placed the refundable $100 deposit and the SUV's first year of production is completely sold out.

2023 GMC Hummer EV The Hummer EV's first year of production is sold out. GMC

When it hits the streets later this year, the Hummer EV will be just in time to face off against a growing crop of EV trucks and SUVs. Rivian recently began delivering the R1T electric pickup truck and will continue with the R1S SUV next year. The Ford F-150 Lightning is coming in 2022, and General Motors itself has a Cadillac EV rollout to handle in 2022. Chevy and GMC will show off electric versions of the Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks on January 5 and GMC will push the Hummer SUV EV in 2023.

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