Rivian R1S

Rivian Automative Inc. has faced no shortage of challenges as demand for its first consumer product — the R1T pickup — has continued to rise, while supply chain issues prevented the automaker from adhering to proposed production schedules. Now, finally, the California-based EV company is reportedly moving to its “next phase of production”, which will see a significant rise in output and the launch of Rivian’s second consumer product: the R1S SUV.

Rivian R1S

Rivian R1S

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe took to Twitter to provide consumers with an update. “Supply chain and production are ramping,” he shared. ”We just announced production of 4,401 vehicles for Q2 bringing our cumulative total since start of production to 7,969 — keeping us on track to reach our year-end goals.” According to reports, Rivian delivered 4,467 vehicles in the second quarter compared with just 1,227 in the January-March period.

Rivian R1S

Rivian R1S

An uptick in production momentum is important for Rivian, as the brand has set a rather ambitious production forecast of 25,000 vehicles this year, which would include the R1T, R1S and commercial vans for Amazon.

Apparently, Rivian has been making a small number of the R1S SUV’s; however, they have only been made available to employees thus far. Moreover, during an April media tour of the automaker’s plant in Normal, Ill., it was quickly noticed that there was a large number of R1T pickups, but only a few completed units of the R1S and Amazon vans. According to Scaringe, the plant is capable of building 150,000 vehicles a year if it had enough parts, including microchips.

Both the R1T pickup and the R1S SUV will use the “R1” platform, and the R1S will offer drivers three rows of luxury EV seating, in addition to off-road capabilities not currently offered by competitors such as the Tesla Model X. From a price point perspective, the Model X starts at US$125,940 with shipping, while the R1S starts at US$85,575, and a less expensive R1S is expected to ship by 2024. The R1S is expected to cater to active families or individuals who have been waiting for a luxury EV that offers more seats and cargo room to suit their lifestyle.

The R1S also offers drivers nearly 15 inches of ground clearance at its highest setting and 835 hp in the four-motor version. The electric SUV also offers 316 miles of range, according to the EPA estimate, and fast charging capability that can add up to 225 km of range in 20 minutes under ideal conditions.

Rivian will reportedly begin deliveries of the R1S SUV to (understandably impatient) reservation holders beginning in August or September of this year. Between the R1T and the R1S, Rivian has over 90,000 reservations to fulfill — in addition to 100,000 vans for Amazon.

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