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Rivian, Tesla, Auto Dealers, and Backwards State Laws — Part 1

In the first part of this two-part interview for CleanTech Talk, I talked with Vice President of Public Policy at Rivian James Chen for our CleanTech Talk podcast series. A video recording of our one-hour discussion is now online for CleanTechnica Members, Supporters, Technicians, and Ambassadors to view on YouTube, and the first part is now published on the many podcast networks CleanTech Talk is broadcast on.

You can subscribe and listen to CleanTech Talk on: AnchorApple Podcasts/iTunesBreakerGoogle PodcastsOvercastPocketPodbeanRadio PublicSoundCloudSpotify, or Stitcher.

James Chen and I talked a bit about the broader electric vehicle market and how the various EV startups and serious EV efforts from legacy automakers are all partners in the mission to phase out fossil-powered vehicles, but the bulk of the discussion was about why the ability to sell directly to customers is critical for EV startups and how that is being blocked in many US states — a problem found nowhere else in the world.

Image courtesy of Rivian

Now that Rivian is on the verge of bringing its electric truck and electric SUV to market, it is facing the same challenges (and more) that Tesla has faced for years trying to sell its vehicles directly to customers in the United States. James Chen and his team are tackling the problem, and he spoke with CleanTechnica about many of the details of this and related matters. Jim has worked on this issue for a long time, as he was previously while at Tesla from 2010 to April 2016, where he ended as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Deputy General Counsel before moving on.

If these topics interest you, perhaps no one knows more about them than Jim, so I encourage you to listen to the podcast or watch the YouTube video (minimum support level of $3/month).


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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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