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Rivian delays first electric pickup deliveries to September

Rivian delays first electric pickup deliveries to September


Another setback for the buzzy (and well-funded) EV startup

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Photo by Sean O’Kane / The Verge

Rivian has delayed the first deliveries of its long-awaited electric pickup truck again, this time until September. Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe broke the news to buyers in an email sent Friday morning.

The Amazon and Ford-backed EV startup originally planned to start delivering its electric pickup, the R1T, and its SUV, the R1S, in 2020. But it scuttled those plans at the beginning of the pandemic and said at the time that it would start deliveries in 2021 instead. Rivian eventually settled on starting deliveries of the R1T in June of this year, only to push that back to July, and now to September.

“We know you can’t wait to get behind the wheel of your vehicle,” Scaringe wrote in the email. “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.”

Scaringe said the “cascading impacts of the pandemic have had a compounding effect greater than anyone anticipated.”

“Cascading impacts of the pandemic” are partly to blame

“Everything from facility construction, to equipment installation, to vehicle component supply (especially semiconductors) has been impacted by the pandemic,” he wrote. Scaringe also said that trying to launch the pickup truck, SUV, and a delivery van being developed with Amazon while also building out a manufacturing facility in Illinois has been difficult, calling it a “complex orchestra of coordinated and interlinked activities where small issues can translate into ramp delays.”

Scaringe also copped to poor communication with reservation holders. “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,” he wrote. He promised to give more updates in the coming weeks.

Rivian was founded in 2009 but kept an extremely low profile until 2018 when it debuted the R1T and R1S at the LA Auto Show. Since then, it has raised an incredible amount of cash — more than $8 billion — from Amazon, Ford, and other institutional investors. The company is also working on going public, which would add even more cash to its war chest. Its workforce has also ballooned to over 7,000 employees, Scaringe said in the email.