RJ Scaring, founder and CEO of Rivian Automotive Inc., unveiled the R1T electric pickup truck, left, and the R1S electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) during an reveal event at Automobility LA ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles. California.
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Amazon-backed electric vehicle maker, Rivian, has delayed the delivery of its long-awaited R1T pickup until September, and the R1S SUV until later fall, the company told CNBC.
However, these delays for retail customers have not affected the start-up’s plans to provide electric delivery vans to its partner and investor Amazon. Spokesmen for both companies confirmed that Rivian still plans to begin production of the van from this year, and aims to have 10,000 vehicles on the road by 2022.
Amazon agreed in September 2019 to purchase 100,000 electric vehicles from the start-up as part of its ambitious push to run Amazon’s fleet entirely on renewable energy. The company expects to test the electric delivery van in 16 cities by the end of 2021.
A Rivian spokesperson told CNBC that the company had previously planned to begin deliveries of the R1T in July and the R1S in August. A letter sent by CEO RJ Scaringe to customers Friday and obtained by CNBC blamed the effects of the COVID pandemic for the delay: “The cascading effects of the pandemic have had a more complex impact than anyone expected. From facility construction to equipment installation All in all, vehicle component supplies (especially semiconductors) have been hit by the pandemic.”
Bloomberg previously reported a delay in delivery.
Rivian had already delayed mass production of its electric vehicles due to the pandemic. In the letter, Scaring noted that the company has already built “hundreds of vehicles” as part of the verification process, which is carried out to ensure that lines are running efficiently and that its vehicle engineers, among other factors. Cars are being manufactured to meet specifications.
According to forecasts from IHS Markit, pickup trucks are expected to account for about a fifth of the new car market for several years. Upcoming battery electric offerings like Rivian’s R1T, Tesla’s Cybertruck and Ford’s F-150 Lightning EV could attract new customers in this segment.
Read Scaringe’s full letter below: