Amazon-Backed Rivian Delays First Electric Vehicles

Electric car start-up Rivian, backed by Amazon and Ford, has pushed back the first deliveries of its already delayed electric pickup truck to September, blaming supply chain disruption.

The California-based company originally planned to ship its R1T pickup and the R1S SUV in 2020, but changed those plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It changed the R1T’s delivery date to June 2021, then July, and now September.

The R1S is now expected to ship in the autumn, chief executive RJ Scaringe said in an email to customers.

Rivian’s R1S electric SUV. Image credit: Rivian

Supply chain impact

“We know you can’t wait to get behind the wheel of your vehicle,” Scaringe wrote.

“Earlier this summer, we announced that deliveries would begin in July; however, the timing for the first deliveries of the R1T has shifted to September, with the R1S shortly thereafter in the fall. I wanted to be sure you heard this from me directly.”

He said the “cascading impacts of the pandemic have had a compounding effect greater than anyone anticipated”, adding that “everything from facility construction, to equipment installation, to vehicle component supply (especially semiconductors)” has been affected by the pandemic.

Scaringe noted that the company is trying to launch the pickup truck, the SUV and a delivery van being developed with Amazon while also building out a manufacturing facility in Illinois, calling the situation a “complex orchestra of coordinated and interlinked activities where small issues can translate into ramp delays”.

Public offering

He also acknowledged that the company needs “to do a better job at communicating specifics around deliveries” and promised more updates in the coming weeks.

Rivian was founded in 2009 and debuted the R1T and R1S in 2018 at the LA Auto Show.

Since then it has raised more than $8 billion (£5.8bn) from investors including Amazon and Ford. Scaringe noted in his email that the firm now has more than 7,000 staff.

Rivian is looking to go public later this year and could target a valuation of about $70bn, Bloomberg reported in May.

Supply chain disruption affecting semiconductors has particularly affected the auto industry, with auto companies around the world forced to suspend production at some plants.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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