Rivian has confirmed that it is delaying its first deliveries of the R1T electric pickup truck, which were supposed to start this month, to September.

There’s currently a race to bring electric pickup trucks to the US market, and Rivian was seen as the most likely to be the first.

Last year, a betting site even started taking bets on the electric pickup race, and Rivian received the best odds to be the first to market.

Officially, it first planned deliveries in June, but it slipped to July.

Now halfway through July, the company announced that it has to delay deliveries to September.

CEO RJ Scaringe explained the reason behind the delay in a letter to reservation holders (full letter at the end of the article):

“There are many reasons why our production ramp is taking longer than expected. The cascading impacts of the pandemic have had a compounding effect greater than anyone anticipated. Everything from facility construction, to equipment installation, to vehicle component supply (especially semiconductors) has been impacted by the pandemic. Beyond these unforeseen challenges, launching three new vehicles while setting up a multi-vehicle manufacturing plant is a complex orchestra of coordinated and interlinked activities where small issues can translate into ramp delays.”

The CEO tried to reassure customers by stating that they have already produced hundreds of validations vehicles and that he believes it’s more valuable to spend more time testing those vehicles than rushing to deliveries.

Scaringe also noted that the delay will result in Rivian being able to deploy more charging stations and service centers by the time deliveries start.

Here’s the letter from Scaringe in full:

Hi Frederic,

I am writing this letter from our Normal, IL manufacturing plant where our teams are working around the clock to ramp production of our R1T, R1S and commercial vans. It is amazing to see the plant come to life through the work of so many passionate team members.

As I’ve watched our team grow to more than 7,000 people, I’ve also witnessed the excitement from our supporters stretch even greater. Whether you were among our first reservation holders or you’re new to the community, thank you for putting your trust in us and showing so much enthusiasm for our products.

We know you can’t wait to get behind the wheel of your vehicle. 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.

There are many reasons why our production ramp is taking longer than expected. The cascading impacts of the pandemic have had a compounding effect greater than anyone anticipated. Everything from facility construction, to equipment installation, to vehicle component supply (especially semiconductors) has been impacted by the pandemic. Beyond these unforeseen challenges, launching three new vehicles while setting up a multi-vehicle manufacturing plant is a complex orchestra of coordinated and interlinked activities where small issues can translate into ramp delays.

Our plant in Normal, IL has two separate production lines currently producing vehicles, one for the R1 vehicles (initially R1T and R1S) and one for our commercial vans. We have now built hundreds of vehicles as part of our validation process, with many of those spotted out in the wild covered in unique vinyl wraps. I have been asked why we aren’t delivering those vehicles or why we continue to test rather than deliver. We believe it is critical to both our long-term success and your ultimate satisfaction that the quality and robustness of our launch products truly sets the tone for what to expect from us as a brand.

I have spoken with a number of you and know we need to do a better job at communicating specifics around deliveries. Our Guides will continue reaching out to schedule deliveries and will be there for any questions throughout the process. We are also preparing for a multi-city, multi-format drive program set to roll out in September. You’ll start to see Rivian charging sites and service centers being built in your local communities; and as we head into the end of the year, you’ll also start to see events, programs and spaces where we’ll be able to bring our Rivian community together.

Lastly, I have spent a lot of time in the R1T and R1S in just about every conceivable environment, and I am excited for you to experience the combination of refinement, capability and performance – it will be worth the wait!

You’ll be hearing more from us over the coming weeks with additional updates and progress. Thanks again for your support and being on this adventure with us.

RJ

Electrek’s Take

Obviously, it’s a bummer, but it’s not entirely surprising at the same time. I think customers will be willing to wait if it assures a higher quality at delivery later this year.

However, there are also some concerns that Rivian might be prioritizing Amazon delivery vans, which are now starting to be spotted more frequently.

Amazon is both an investor in Rivian and its biggest customer with an order of 100,000 electric delivery vans.

I don’t really see this as a significant issue. It’s certainly harder to bring a consumer vehicle to market than a commercial delivery van.

We will keep track of any R1T delivery timeline changes and keep you updated.

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