The US electric car start-up Rivian has resumed work at its plant in Normal, Illinois after the interruption caused by the pandemic and now reports that there should be no delays in the schedule for the electric vans ordered by Amazon.
In contrast, back on the 7 April when the pandemic in the USA was still in its early stages, the American company announced pandemic restrictions meant that the company’s two debut electric vans, the R1T E-pickup and the R1S E-SUV, would probably be postponed to 2021. Rivian is showing that they now prioritise the fulfilment of orders for large customers over getting their new products to market.
Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe says that the vehicle engineering and design teams are developing digital methods to make sure that the timing of the program stays on track. Rivian is expected to deliver 10,000 specially designed e-vehicles to Amazon by 2022. Deliveries are scheduled to start as early as 2021. The total order is for no less than 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2030. Apart from the external design, neither company has revealed the details of the electric-delivery vehicle for Amazon.
Even before the official cooperation agreement, Amazon invested 700 million dollars in the US startup in February 2019 together with other investors as well as chipping in with the latest round in January just passed.
For this reason, Rivian is understandably anxious to have the former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois in operation as soon as possible. The interruption in the course of the fight against the pandemic was only one of two dampers that the Rivian has had to digest. At the same time, the Ford brand Lincoln recently announced that they would not build an electric car based on Rivian’s EV platform. The surprising end to the project came only about three months after its announcement. Lincoln now wants to develop the first electric car on its own. However, Rivian spokesperson Amy Mast, told The Verge, “Lincoln is still working on an ‘alternative vehicle’ based on Rivian’s tech”.
Meanwhile, Electrek claims to have learned that Rivian has recently started to take an interest in charging infrastructure. The company is planning its network of charging stations called Rivian Adventure Network and is thinking to hire employees who previously worked on Tesla’s supercharger network for this reason.