Previously set to start production in December, Rivian is now pushing its plans back by six months.
The most promising of America's numerous EV startups, Michigan-based Rivian was dealt a tremendous blow when it was forced to pause its factory preparations as the global coronavirus pandemic made its way to the United States. Previously, the company was all set to start producing its first vehicles in December of this year, buoyed by sizable investments from Amazon Prime and Ford Motor Company that would see the startup producing vehicles under contract for both.
But Ford has since written down the agreement, canceling its plans to sell a Lincoln-branded luxury EV built upon Rivian's flexible skateboard architecture, while Rivian itself has had to push its target production start date for the R1T pickup and R1S SUV way, way back.
In fact, sources have informed CarBuzz that Rivian is now planning for a June 2021 production start date, roughly half-a-year later than planned. That decision comes despite the fact that Rivian currently finds itself in a race with the likes of Bollinger and Lordstown Motors to be the first-to-market with a mass-produced battery-electric pickup truck.
This intel builds on previous reports that Rivian was forced to push its Start of Regular Production (SORP) to next year. But the timeline was not narrowed down from there. Now we know.
Potentially worse, it's not yet clear what bearing the decision to delay production by six months will have on Rivian's contract with Amazon Prime.
A February release from Amazon made it appear as though the company's Rivian-built Prime delivery trucks were just about ready to go, but with Rivian's Illinois production facility now idle until at least June 2021, it might take longer than expected before the first trucks are able to be pressed into service.
If there is a silver lining, it's that the extra downtime will give Rivian the chance to validate its components and accessories prior to the launch of the R1T and R1S. Although the company has yet to produce a saleable vehicle, it's positioned well to hit the ground running when it fires up the plant next June, with what might be the most energy-dense battery by volume of any volume EV manufacturer.