In a very “Muskivelian” move today, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe tweeted some cool new features that would be coming to owners, while Tony Caravano, head of Rivian customer engagement, told reservation holders with Ocean Coast interiors (like myself) that their vehicles would be delayed further. Oh and today’s the day that Rivian stakeholder and competitor Ford starts deliveries of the F-150 Lightning. So much for subtlety.
Starting with the bad news, I and many Rivian reservation holders got the following email late last night.
Rivian delay email
I’m writing you from our new Customer Engagement Center in Irvine, CA, where Guides and Specialists are working to support deliveries to customers across the country. It’s been a privilege to see social media and Internet forums flooded with photos and videos of new customer deliveries; they inspire us to keep exploring every option to get even more of you into Rivian vehicles as quickly as we can.
To support that goal, we’re adjusting our production sequence to maximize production output in spite of supply challenges. Here are some important details:
The biggest adjustment is with our interior color options. For both R1T and R1S, we are prioritizing Black Mountain and Forest Edge interiors for the soonest deliveries, with Ocean Coast deliveries starting later this fall.
The light wood in Ocean Coast is more challenging to produce, so in order to move faster, we are focusing initially on producing with Black Mountain and Forest Edge.We are also using more batching of exterior colors and wheel options.
Building in few build combinations reduces complexity with our suppliers and in the plant and allows us to build a greater number of vehicles.This updated approach also means we’ll see Adventure Package vehicles rolling off the line alongside Launch Edition vehicles over the next few months. While these ramp-optimized build plans may affect some people’s delivery timing — moving some up and some back — this will enable us to deliver as many vehicles as quickly as possible. In the coming weeks, we will email updated delivery estimates to all preorder holders.
For preorder holders with a delivery window in 2022, we will be reaching out in late May to gauge your preferences and help further inform our build combinations. If you’re flexible on certain options, you may be able to take delivery sooner. If you love your original configuration and prefer to stick with it, then no action is required on your part — we’ll simply continue to update you on your estimated delivery timing.
We ask those preorder holders with a 2023 (or later) delivery window to sit tight for now but know that we intend to provide you with more clarity this summer as well.
Look for more updates about your individual preorder in the coming weeks, and as always, please reach out if you’ve got questions.
Thanks for being on the journey with us.
Head of Rivian Customer Engagement
* Your delivery window estimate is based on your preorder date, delivery location and your current configuration. Changes to your configuration or delivery address may impact your estimated delivery window.
The bottom line is that myself and other Ocean Coast interior deliveries would be delayed again. Meanwhile those with the other two interiors would theoretically move up the line and even some Adventure package vehicles would move ahead of Launch Edition reservations.
Rivian new features
At about the same time, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe tweeted out a pretty interesting new unannounced feature for desert/beachgoers who apparently like to kick up some sand: Sand Mode, which will come standard. It isn’t certain what this mode will do performance-wise but it will certainly bring the sand which could be problematic for the underbody?
In addition, two neat Tesla staple features, Pet Mode and Dashcam, will also be coming soon to Rivian drivers. Pet mode is kind of a offshoot of camping mode that allows the car to stay at a room temperature no matter how hot or cold it is outside so that pets can stay in the car while eating or shopping. Not for use with children obviously. I would assume that Dashcam will use the array of Rivian cameras to record what’s going on around the vehicle much like Tesla does.
While bummed that I’m looking at yet another delay (and might change my configuration based on this), I understand and appreciate that Rivian is trying to get these trucks out the door. On the flip side, it is good news for other interior holders who will theoretically get their vehicle sooner.
The new car tricks are of course neat, and I will particularly get utility from pet mode, the dashcam, and to a lesser degree “sand mode.”
Even more interesting to me is the way the news was delivered. As a 4X Tesla owner over almost a decade, I’m used to getting car updates via CEO tweets. Would I rather get the news from the company Twitter handle so I am not also forced to look at political memes from the same account? (Are we still talking about RJ?!) Perhaps. But it is nice when there is a responsible person attached to the tweet and who theoretically answers follow-up questions, even if they are softballs lobbed by superfans.
Rivian is both praised and criticized by copying the best of Tesla, and I think that’s what’s happening here, not just in features but the way the company operates. Keep some cool new features in the hopper for the CEO to tweet out to cover the news cycle when bad news needs to be delivered. Look at the lead image for this story on delays. Oh, and what Ford F-150 Lightning launch day? Does it even have Sand Mode?
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