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Rivian Encounters “Production Hell.” R1S Deliveries Pushed Back 3 Months — Or More

If you are waiting for your Rivian RiS, you may have to be patient a little longer.

To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld (older readers may remember him), “Dying is easy. Building automobiles is hard.” People worked themselves into a lather a few years ago when Tesla experienced what Elon Musk called “production hell” as it struggled to ramp up manufacturing of the Model 3. Things got so bad that Elon Musk started spending nights at the Fremont factory in a sleeping bag at the end of the assembly line so he could address any production issues in real time.

Rivian, which has begun making its R1T electric pickup truck, is now setting its sights on getting its R1S electric SUV out the door and into the hands of customers. Like Tesla before it, Rivian is finding it’s one thing to talk about delivery dates, it’s quite another thing to meet those targets.

The first R1S was scheduled to roll off the line in January, but in emails to reservation holders this week, it has notified them that it is likely to be March or April before their vehicles get delivered to customers. The wait could potentially extend longer than that. Rivian Owners Forum user doozenberg posted a copy of notice he got from Rivian customer service this week that said:

Hi,

Thank you for your continued support of Rivian. We can’t wait to get you behind the wheel of your R1S. Now that vehicle production is ramping up at our factory in Normal, IL, and we’re building out our service and support in your region, we’re able to share an updated delivery window.

Your Launch Edition R1S delivery window is now June–July 2022. Please note that this delivery window is based on your current configuration, delivery location, and preorder date. Your preorder is a vote for finding better ways of doing things on a planet that needs all of us to think big and innovate. If you have any questions, please reach out to us.

Thank you again.

Several reservation holders report they have received similar emails, some promising delivery in April–May and some promising delivery in June–July. Inside EVs points out that most current preorders are for the Launch Edition of the car, which will not be equipped with the largest available battery pack. It speculates that deliveries of non-Launch Edition cars probably won’t happen until sometime in 2023.

The news has caused a kerfuffle among some reservation holders, who say they have cancelled their preorder and will buy a Tesla Model Y or Volkswagen ID.4 instead. All that consternation led another forum member who goes by the name o. horridus to post this rather pithy comment:

“If you were planning on a 2022 delivery then you’re an idiot. Rivian never promised you a delivery date. While we all want our Rivian NOW, they never promised you a delivery date. When the configurator went live in Nov 2020, Rivian made it clear that the LE was going to be delivered first — the LE does NOT include the Max Pack battery, and it was announced that the R1S was specifically going to be delivered after the R1T. Anyone who has an LE configuration is now (for the first time) being promised mid-2022. A 2018 reservation buys you a few months before a 2020 reservation. But seriously, did you really expect that Rivian would deliver ALL its pre-orders at the same time the FIRST pre-order was delivered?”

I am not a candidate for a Rivian R1S, but if I was, I would definitely order one in Red Canyon (see above). To all you Rivian reservation holders out there, we have these words of advice: Patience, grasshopper.

 
 
 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we heed his advice.

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