Rivian’s first electric vehicle delivery delayed to September

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CEO said company needs to do better job at communicating specifics around deliveries

NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — The Rivian plant in Normal will not deliver its first electric vehicle until at least September, the founder and CEO said in a letter to customers Friday.

In the letter, CEO RJ Scaringe said deliveries for the R1T model, which was initially slated for a July release, cited the pandemic as the main reason for the delay.

“The cascading impacts of the pandemic have had a compounding effect greater than anyone anticipated,” Scaringe said. “Everything from facility construction to equipment installation, to vehicle component supply (especially semiconductors) has been impacted by the pandemic.”

Scaringe said the process of launching three new vehicles while setting up a multi-vehicle manufacturing plant is, “a complex orchestra of coordinated and interlinked activities where small issues can translate into ramp delays.”

The CEO also acknowledged the company will need to improve its communication with customers regarding vehicle deliveries.

One way he said the company will is through, “a multi-city, multi-format drive program set to roll out in September.” He also said residents will see Rivian charging sites and service centers being built in local communities.

The letter from Scaringe can be read below:

Hello –

I am writing this letter from our Normal, IL manufacturing plant where our teams are working around the clock to ramp production of our R1T, R1S and commercial vans. It is amazing to see the plant come to life through the work of so many passionate team members.

As I’ve watched our team grow to more than 7,000 people, I’ve also witnessed the excitement from our supporters stretch even greater. Whether you were among our first reservation holders or you’re new to the community, thank you for putting your trust in us and showing so much enthusiasm for our products.

We know you can’t wait to get behind the wheel of your vehicle. Earlier this summer, we announced that deliveries would begin in July; however, the timing for the first deliveries of the R1T has shifted to September, with the R1S shortly thereafter in the fall. I wanted to be sure you heard this from me directly.

There are many reasons why our production ramp is taking longer than expected. The cascading impacts of the pandemic have had a compounding effect greater than anyone anticipated. Everything from facility construction, to equipment installation, to vehicle component supply (especially semiconductors) has been impacted by the pandemic. Beyond these unforeseen challenges, launching three new vehicles while setting up a multi-vehicle manufacturing plant is a complex orchestra of coordinated and interlinked activities where small issues can translate into ramp delays.

Our plant in Normal, IL has two separate production lines currently producing vehicles, one for the R1 vehicles (initially R1T and R1S) and one for our commercial vans. We have now built hundreds of vehicles as part of our validation process, with many of those spotted out in the wild covered in unique vinyl wraps. I have been asked why we aren’t delivering those vehicles or why we continue to test rather than deliver. We believe it is critical to both our long-term success and your ultimate satisfaction that the quality and robustness of our launch products truly sets the tone for what to expect from us as a brand.

I have spoken with a number of you and know we need to do a better job at communicating specifics around deliveries. Our Guides will continue reaching out to schedule deliveries and will be there for any questions throughout the process. We are also preparing for a multi-city, multi-format drive program set to roll out in September. You’ll start to see Rivian charging sites and service centers being built in your local communities; and as we head into the end of the year, you’ll also start to see events, programs and spaces where we’ll be able to bring our Rivian community together. 

Lastly, I have spent a lot of time in the R1T and R1S in just about every conceivable environment, and I am excited for you to experience the combination of refinement, capability and performance – it will be worth the wait! You’ll be hearing more from us over the coming weeks with additional updates and progress. Thanks again for your support and being on this adventure with us.

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