With that, Rivian takes another significant step toward production.
You would be forgiven for assuming that electric vehicle startup Rivian might never actually quite start production on its potentially game-changing Rivian R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV.
After all, it was more than a decade ago, in 2009, when the company was first formed, and despite having a rockstar CEO in R.J. Scaringe, who holds a PhD. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, Rivian has produced not a single saleable car in that time. In fact, the company kept mostly quiet for years, silently tinkering in the background before it was finally ready to show its first two production-bound vehicles, the R1T and R1S, at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show - nine years after the company's formation.
Both vehicles were, at long last, ready to enter production late in 2020, we were told. And then Covid happened.
Now, however, there's more reason than ever to be optimistic, because Rivian has officially started churning out examples of its R1T electric pickup, slowly, from its factory in Normal, Illinois. Now, these are just pre-production vehicles, not full-fledged production examples, so they don't necessarily mean that customer deliveries are right around the corner. But they do demonstrate that at least Rivian's pilot production line is up and running, making its new target production start date in June, 2021 look entirely plausible.
So what will happen to these pre-production examples? They'll be used "for our continued testing to ensure we meet and exceed expectations," the company says. "We are looking forward to beginning deliveries next year and are focused on achieving high quality and durability targets."
If by "testing," Rivian means taking its pre-production R1T trucks to be thrashed off-road the same way some of its prototypes have been, count us in. Far from a suburban mall crawler, the Rivian R1T promises to be a genuinely rugged, capable off-road truck, able to climb rocks, negotiate tricky trails, and blast through the desert with the best production off-roaders. Video evidence backs this up, and with this latest news, that Rivian's pilot line is up and running, there's a lot to get excited about.