Rivian’s star is rising but it it’s still working on becoming a car manufacturer, meaning long wait times for some as demand picks up for its SUV.
The American EV maker only began producing electric vehicles at its Normal, Illinois facility in 2021. So, despite a lot of positives — an uptick in production numbers in Q2, strong consumer interest the company, and a sharply rising stock price — it faces challenges not unlike those that Tesla faced in its early years.
I asked Rivian this past week about its delivery outlook for the R1S SUV, which is quickly becoming its most popular vehicle.
Here’s what the company said:
Quad-Motor R1S is expected begin delivering in 2024 for those who place a reservation today. For customers with existing Quad-Motor R1S preorders or reservations, available configurations could deliver in 14 days or less through the R1 Shop*.
Performance Dual-Motor R1S will begin delivering for pre-March 1, 2022 preorder holders this year – “this is the only audience who’s able to view Dual-Motor R1S (‘Performance’ Dual-Motor variant only) in our configurator at this time,” Rivian told me.
Note that the Performance dual-motor R1S with the in-house Enduro motors is a new addition.
Rivian also explains on its purchasing support page that a delivery window estimate is based on delivery location (being near a service center is a big plus). It is also dependent on configuration and original preorder or reservation date.
Additionally, “It’s…influenced by how we batch production of vehicles at our plant, supply availability and shifts in customer preference,” according to Rivian.
Consumers seriously eying Rivian as Tesla alternative
One of the most promising signs for Rivian is its emergence as a brand that consumers are choosing over Tesla. This could put further pressure on Rivian as it tries to ramp up production.
A Bloomberg survey on Tesla published July 26 showed that “shoppers were…taking a close look at Rivian…whose R1S SUV and R1T pickup were the top two models among alternative brands [to Tesla],” the publication said.
The R1S was the leading model, garnering a 34.1% “popularity” rating (as a Tesla alternative), more than twice that of the Ford F150 Lightning electric, which is $28,000 less than the R1S, according to the survey. The Rivian R1T pickup was listed second behind the R1S.
Separately, based on anecdotal reports, Rivian vehicles are becoming more visible at popular recreation locations such as Lake Tahoe, where Rivian has become the off-road-capable EV of choice for many visitors and residents.
*Rivian added that there will be more news on the R1 Shop in the coming week