“After months of building pre-production vehicles, our first customer vehicle this morning rolled off our production line at Normal!” He tweeted on Tuesday. “Can’t wait to get these into the hands of our customers!”
Rivian has also received the necessary approvals from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board to begin deliveries of the R1T in all 50 states. Customers can only buy the truck online, as there is no showroom available for the vehicle to be viewed or tested yet.
The company said it is holding events across the country where customers can view the vehicles in person, and buyers will have seven days, or 1,000 miles, to return the truck after delivery.
Although the popularity of electric cars and SUVs continues to grow, EV pickups have so far been more plans and promises than reality.
Rivian priced the R1T at $73,000 and said it has already sold the launch version of the trucks. The company has not revealed how many trucks are part of the launch version, and is now taking orders for January 2022 delivery.
It is significant that Rivian is able to be the first to market with its EV pickups, said Brian Moody, executive editor at AutoTrader, a unit of Cox Automotive, who is also an investor in Rivian.
“Electric trucks are a hot thing right now. They’re going to have the advantage of being the first,” he said. “But as time goes on, it will be more important to be seen as the best.”
Traditional truck buyers may not fit the profile of EV buyers, but they will see their advantages, Moody’s said, such as the ability to use the truck as a power source instead of needing a separate generator.
“You can be in the middle of somewhere and you can plug in your devices and you have a work site,” he said.
But Rivian faces challenges trying to compete with Ford, GM and Tesla without showrooms where shoppers can browse for vehicles and feel confident in their ability to service them.
“That’s something they have to ramp up,” Moody said.