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Jun 26

Rivian is spending a ‘huge amount of time’ avoiding Tesla-type service issues


Tesla has been working hard to improve its vehicle repair and servicing challenges over the last several months, and the audience noting both the issues and steps needed to solve them includes Rivian, the auto startup working on the all-electric R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV.


“So, we’re spending a huge amount of time solving service,” CEO RJ Scaringe revealed in an interview with The Fast Lane Carat Rivian’s recent event focused on second-life uses for its batteries. “Not just in your big cities, not just in LA or Seattle, but if you buy a car and you let’s say live 50 miles out from the city or live 200 miles away from the city… How do you manage that? So, those are some of the harder sort of challenges we’re thinking through and making sure it’s easy to service the vehicle.”


Tesla’s status as the pack leader in the burgeoning electric vehicle industry means every major challenge experienced becomes a front page story. Upcoming brands like Rivian have the strategic advantage of watching the struggle, noting both the failures and successes, and then incorporating the lessons into their own brand’s plans. Scaringe is, of course, quite aware of this advantage and credits Tesla for providing it.




“I think any great brand…that customers are going to be excited about and that customers are going to want to be part of, it has to fundamentally reset expectations. It has to disprove untruths. Tesla took the untruth that electric cars were boring and slow — that they were glorified golf carts — and they disproved that. They showed people that an electric car can be exciting and fun,” Scaringe acknowledged during a fireside chat at the Automotive News World Congress.


Rivian’s CEO also noted that the all-electric startup is determined to learn from the experiences of companies like Tesla, while integrating concepts from established automakers such as GM and Toyota. “We do recognize the complexity of assembling and putting vehicles together, of managing a very complex supply chain and logistics network, and we’re very [cognizant] of the nuts and bolts, and of the need to follow a proper process to ensure that, when we launch the vehicle, it can be launched with as few problems, errors, and challenges as possible,” he said.


Rivian isn’t the only company that’s taken note of Tesla’s headline-generating leadership in the world of zero-emissions vehicles. CEO and Founder Trevor Milton of Nikola Motors, a new manufacturer producing both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric semi trucks has noted the stress Tesla has experienced from being a revolutionary company disrupting an entire industry. “I sympathize with what Tesla has had to go through,” Milton said during a press conference following Nikola’s unveiling event in April. He plans to keep the company private, focusing on quality and performance before even considering becoming a publicly traded company, if ever.


Tesla recently announced that its Mobile Service and Service Centers are now capable of performing on-site and in-house collision repairs to include minor body work and bolt-on replacements. This addition is part of the company’s larger service improvement efforts to ensure quality work, quick turnaround, and transparent pricing for Tesla owners in contrast to issues experienced via non-Tesla body shops. Other service-oriented efforts made include a commitment to doubling service capacity in 2019, stocking all common parts at Service Centers, live repair status updates, and the roll out of vehicle self-diagnosis for certain issues paired with automatic replacement part ordering.


Rivian aims to do to pickup trucks and off-road-capable SUVs what Tesla did to the performance and premium automotive segments, and so far, it looks like they’re headed in the right direction.


Watch the full set of interviews with Rivian’s team by The Fast Lane Car below:





New Posts
  • While it is known that Rivian is working on delivering its new all-electric R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV for 2020, the automaker may have another vehicle in the works. Rivian may be coming to market with an electrified rally car, which Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe told Autocar at the Los Angeles International Auto Show would be “bananas” in the way it performed. The next vehicle that could come down the assembly line for Rivian may be a rally-raid style performance car, which would align with the adventure theme of its R1T and R1S models, Electrek said. Scaringe added that “The third vehicle will have a smaller wheelbase [than the R1S SUV] and will be the Rivian interpretation of a rally car with a lot of ground clearance.” The electric rally car may have already been developed as Rivian Forums believes they spotted the vehicle in its early form at Rivian’s factory. The news outlet said the spotted vehicle had an arching roofline, which was car-like in nature, flared front fenders, and high ground clearance. Rivian has received plenty of backing from investors like Ford ($500 million)  and Amazon ($700 million), with the latter ordering 100,000 electric vans from the company for delivery in 2021. The company has also secured a manufacturing facility in Normal, Illinois, that was previously a Mitsubishi plant for production. source:
  • NORMAL — Normal showed why it's "the envy of communities across the country" Sunday. Thousands gathered around Uptown Circle as  electric car startup Rivian held a community showcase with three prototype vehicles that will be manufactured at the former Mitsubishi plant starting next year — a demonstration of Rivian's growth since it came to town in 2016 and a sign of what's to come. "When this project came to the (McLean) County Board, there was a lot of skepticism. It's a start-up in the electric car industry. ... But here was a chance for this community to see the upside of an exploding industry," said County Board member Carlo Robustelli. "To be here, with the cars, around the circle ... it's really exciting, and it's a testament to forward thinking." Elected and business leaders including Gov. J.B. Pritzker attended to see the R1T pickup and R1S SUV up close and chat with Rivian staffers including CEO RJ Scaringe, who led Pritzker on a guided tour of the vehicles. "Rivian is going to be one of the largest car companies in the world, and it's going to be based right here in Normal — its manufacturing is," said Pritzker. "I'm thrilled ... for the people of Normal and for Illinois that we have manufacturing that's reviving in our state, and this is advanced manufacturing with an advanced vehicle that's the leader in the world." The plant has nearly 200 employees and is expected to exceed 1,000 after the first Rivian vehicles hit the market in late 2020. Officials said the vast majority of those employed by Rivian in Normal are from the community, including former Mitsubishi workers who helped open, run and close the plant and are now overseeing its revival and conversion to a new kind of facility. "There's some changes we're seeing on the outside, but what's really happening is what's on the inside of the facility. We're bringing new equipment in. We're making changes to the layout of the plant, the lines," said Scaringe. "Once that's set up, we'll really start to ramp up, and that involves a lot of hiring. ... As the facility starts to get into full-line production, we're talking about thousands of jobs." Pritzker told Scaringe the variety of officials to attend Sunday showed Rivian can expect the full support of federal, state and local leaders who represent the area. The company is in line to receive more than $50 million in state and local incentives for the plant if it meets hiring and investment targets. U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, said Sunday's display confirmed his belief that Rivian will be for trucks what Tesla has been for passenger vehicles, and he's eager to help by promoting tax credits and investing in the workforce."I just heard today they're even thinking about expanding the plant further... so infrastructure in and out will be crucial," said LaHood. Rivian did not confirm Sunday if it has any plans to expand the plant. "Anything we can do in the way of state incentives to help the production and purchase of these vehicles, we want to look at," said State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, of how the state government can help Rivian. "Having the governor here to see firsthand what we're talking about is a big plus for that." Normal Mayor Chris Koos said he took the interest in Sunday's event — with thousands swarming Uptown Circle to see the vehicles up close but not touch or drive them — as "validation" the town was wise to invest in the company, and Rivian holding the event was "affirmation" it values that relationship. "This backs up of what Rivian tells us: that they're committed to this community, they like this community, their employees like being in this community, and this is their way of saying, 'We're here,'" he said. "This is something you can see and know it's going to be manufactured in Normal." Rivian's signage Sunday reflected that partnership, reading "adventurous together." Patrick Hoban, CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, said he hopes Sunday's festivities bring more attention to McLean County and pave the way for economic growth, including around the plant. "When it comes to finding suppliers, going out and telling the story of how (Rivian is) successful here only helps," he said. "Their story is our story. When they succeed, we're all going to succeed." source: Photos provided by: DAVID PROEBER, THE PANTAGRAPH KARL MARTIN, FACEBOOK
  • Nearly two years after Rivian first arrived in Normal, community members will finally be able to see the company’s first electric vehicles in person. Rivian is planning a community event from 1-4 p.m. Oct. 13 in Uptown Normal. Rivian’s battery-powered R1T pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle will be on display. The EV maker is also recruiting employees for its Normal manufacturing plant, which now has around 130 employees. Rivian has said it plans to hire as many as 1,000 workers by 2024. Several jobs in Normal are now posted on Rivian’s websites , including maintenance technician, battery manufacturing engineer, facilities engineer, packaging engineer, and quality assurance engineer. Rivian plans to begin making its first vehicles in Normal next year. “Normal’s experienced workforce, existing plant infrastructure, and beautiful location made the city a natural home for us,” Rivian said in a statement Thursday. “We’re excited to build our electric adventure vehicles in collaboration with this community.” Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe will be in Normal for the Oct. 13 event. The company will also have a temporary storefront displaying Rivian history and plant photos at One Uptown Circle. Parking will be available at the public parking garage at Uptown Station; EV charging is available there. Attendees using public transportation should use the Uptown Station bus stop. Cyclists will find bike racks in the parking structure at Uptown Station. source: