RJ Scaringe, founder and chief executive officer of Rivian Automotive Inc., introduces the R1T Electric Pickup (left) and R1S Electric Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) during a unveiling ceremony at AutoMobility LA prior to the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles. California.
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Rivian, the Amazon-backed electric vehicle maker, has postponed shipments of its long-awaited R1T pickup until September and the R1S SUV until later this fall, the company told CNBC.
However, these delays for private customers do not affect the start-up’s plans to make electric delivery vans available to its partner and investor Amazon. Spokespeople for both companies confirmed that Rivian plans to start producing the vans this year, with the goal of putting 10,000 vehicles on the road by 2022.
In September 2019, Amazon agreed to buy 100,000 electric vehicles from the start-up as part of its ambitious plan to run the Amazon fleet entirely on renewable energy. The company plans to test electric delivery vehicles in 16 cities by the end of 2021.
A Rivian spokesman told CNBC that the company had previously planned to begin shipping the R1T in July and the R1S in August. A letter sent to customers on Friday by CEO RJ Scaringe and received by CNBC blamed the effects of the Covid pandemic for the delays: “The cascading effects of the pandemic have had a stronger effect than anyone expected the delivery of vehicle components (especially semiconductors) has been affected by the pandemic. “
Bloomberg had previously reported the delivery delays.
Rivian had already delayed mass production of its electric vehicles because of the pandemic. In the letter, Scaringe noted that the company has already built “hundreds of vehicles” as part of the validation process to ensure the lines run efficiently, including producing cars that meet their vehicle engineers’ specifications.
According to forecasts by IHS Markit, pickups will account for around a fifth of the new car market for several years. Upcoming battery-electric offerings such as Rivian’s R1T, Tesla’s Cybertruck and Ford’s F-150 Lightning EV could attract new customers to the segment.
Read Scaringe’s full letter below: