Before Rivian delivers its first R1T pickups and R1S SUVs to customers, there’s an elephant in the room to consider. If something happens, how are customers going to repair their vehicles? This week, CEO RJ Scaringe offered some more insight in that process in an interview with Automotive News.
For the uninitiated, Rivian will forego the traditional dealership network in selling its cars. Instead, Scaringe says the company will launch 41 service centers throughout the United States. “In addition to those centers, we’re building a very robust network of mobile service [providers] that will come to you, your business or your home,” he said. So, in an approach similar to Tesla, you can either take your vehicle to the service center, or they will come to you. The company plans to roll out the service centers ahead of the first vehicles hitting customers’ driveways — over the span of the next nine months.
“What we deeply believe is that a significant majority of service operations necessary on a vehicle can be done remotely, can be done with our mobile service network, which from a customer’s point of view simplifies things dramatically.” Scaringe told AutoNews that a “massive” amount of building is going on behind the seats to build up Rivian’s post-sale infrastructure to handle repairs. At this point, the company has not laid out locations for its complete service center network. However, if it does build 41 service centers, most customers should have the option to take their vehicle to a physical location should they choose — at least in the Lower 48.
Rivian on track for 2021 launch
As part of the interview, Scaringe reaffirmed Rivian’s launch date for its first two vehicles. Full-scale production should ramp up early next year, with the first deliveries set to take place in the second quarter of 2021. As part of its deal to produce 100,000 electric vans for Amazon, the company will also have some service demand maintaining that fleet.