What did it say? Read on.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused all sorts of production delays across the auto industry. Every automaker has been affected somehow, though some have fared better than others. For Rivian, one of the newest brands to hit the scene, the pandemic is a serious problem because it caused a six-month-long production delay start for its first model.
The all-electric Rivian R1T pickup truck and Rivian R1S SUV were both initially set to begin rolling off the assembly line in late 2020 or very early 2021. It was previously rumored that date had been pushed back six months. Today, we can report R1T deliveries will kick off in June 2021 and in August 2021 for the R1S.
An email sent to prospective buyers, obtained by the Rivian Owners Forum, has announced those dates to the relevant parties. Despite that year-long wait for anxious customers, Rivian also says it has begun a pilot production line program at its Normal, Illinois factory. This facility will not only build R1Ts and R1Ss for regular customers but also 100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon.
Rivian says those vans are still on schedule to begin production in early 2021. An expected 10,000 of those vehicles will hopefully hit the road in early 2022 and all 100,000 by 2030. Just last month, Rivian completed a second round of major investment, taking in some $2.5 billion in financing. Previously, Ford and Amazon invested $500 million and $700 million, respectively. There was a plan for a future all-electric Lincoln SUV to ride on Rivian's innovative "skateboard" platform, but that vehicle has been shelved for the time being, yet another coronavirus vehicular victim.
Despite Rivian's first customers having to wait a full year now, they're no longer being kept in the dark. However, Rivian now has something new to contend with: a lawsuit filed by arch-rival Tesla. Tesla accuses Rivian of stealing its employees and trade secrets. Rivian denies the allegations.
This lawsuit shouldn't affect Rivian's new production schedule but it could quickly become a thorn in its side at a time when it should be solely focusing on getting its production line up and running.