After the US electric car startup Rivian had interrupted production preparations for its two debut electric cars due to the Covid 19 pandemic, it is now clear that the plan to start production and deliveries before the end of the year cannot be kept.
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“It will be 2021,” said a Rivian spokesperson. It is still unclear when the work, which stopped in March, can be resumed. Rivian plans to set up production at a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, where the R1T electric pickup and R1S electric SUV will be built.
Usually, around 300 employees should be involved in the conversions, but currently, only a fuselage team of 11 employees is active in the plant, according to the spokesperson. Also, about 60 construction companies were supposed to work on the factory site about two hours’ drive southwest of Chicago, but here, too, work is mostly suspended.
Rivian had already warned his customers a few days ago. In an e-mail to the pre-ordering companies, the company wrote that stopping the preparatory work would mean “a certain delay”. However, the startup is trying to minimize the disruption to the plan. In the mail, Rivian also referred to a video showing the work being carried out when the system was shut down.
Normal, the town, is also home to a Ford assembly plant, where the SUV models Ford Explorer, the Lincoln Aviator and the Ford Police Interceptor will be manufactured. Production is also suspended there and, according to Ford, about 5,600 workers are affected.
Together with Amazon, Ford is one of Rivian’s partners. The American car giant wants to design its own electric SUVs on Rivian’s skateboard platform and possibly have them manufactured by Rivian – the first model is to be launched under the Lincoln brand. Amazon is also among the major customers: The online retailer has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans in its design based on Rivian technology.
Update 26 July 2020: Following the postponed market launch of their two debut battery-electric vehicles, Rivian has now given more concrete schedules: Deliveries of the R1T electric Pickup are expected to start in June 2021, the R1S electric SUV is to follow in August 2021. The company made the announcement via Twitter.
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