Rivian expanding commercial EV division and pursuing new plant in Georgia

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Updated Dec 30, 2021
Rivian expanding commercial EV van ineup
Rivian has plans for a new plant and a new commercial van, the EDV 500, which will join its only other fleet offering, the EDV 700, shown above.
Rivian

Rivian recently added a fleet section and a new electric van in the hopes of reeling in more commercial interest beyond its massive van order with Amazon.

The news comes as the Ford-backed California start-up pursues plans to expand its first plant in Illinois and break ground on a second auto plant in Georgia that will triple production—a welcomed move following a recent stock tumble brought on by a shareholder report that revealed a production slump in 2021.

Rivian’s website now includes a fleet tab which provides information on its Rivian Commercial Van (RCV) program including charging, fleet vehicle management through Rivian FleetOS and fleet vehicle options.

The only commercial EV currently shown on Rivian’s website is their EDV 700 van, 100,000 of which are destined for ecommerce giant Amazon. However, in a recent letter to shareholders, Rivian announced that the 700 cubic foot van will be joined by a smaller van, the EDV 500 next year. That van is narrower and shorter than the EDV 700.

Rivian electric vehicle fleet telematicsCommercial electric vans purchased through Rivian are available with Rivian FleetOS, a telematics program.RivianIn its online fleet section, Rivian describes its commercial van lineup as “configurable models ranging from 450 to 900 cubic feet of cargo capacity with options for integrated factory upfitting.” So while a van larger than 700 cubic feet is available, it’s unclear if that vehicle is a separate model or a larger variant of the EDV 700.

Range listed for the EDV 700 tops out at 201 miles. It’s not clear if that range applies to the larger 900 cubic foot van. Range is not provided for the EDV 500. Payload capacity for the vans ranges from 1,960 pounds to 5,300 pounds.

Rivian aims to provide a turn-key commercial EV program which includes assessing fleet needs for charging and EV duty cycles. Rivian’s mobile service division can provide on-the-spot EV repairs and maintenance or transport the vehicle to a Rivian service center if needed. 

Rivian will begin accepting fleet orders next year and expects to begin delivering non-Amazon vans in 2023. Interested fleets can register now on Rivian’s fleet section for additional information.

Big production goals

To help meet demand for its growing EV lineup, Rivian announced that it will be expanding its first plant in Normal, Illinois and begin construction this summer on a second plant near Atlanta, Ga. Following its anticipated completion in 2023, Rivian’s Georgia site is expected to triple annual EV production from 200,000 to 600,000 vehicles.

Demand for its first consumer EVs, the R1T pickup and R1S SUV, has been high. However, production goals for the 12-year-old company fell short of expectations for 2021 according to Rivian’s Q3 shareholder letter, the first such letter following its IPO last month. Net loss for the third quarter amounted to $1.23 billion compared to $288 million for the same time last year.

Rivian's setbacks led to a 16% dip in stock value to $89.98 per share on Monday, Dec. 20. Rivian blamed the slump on supply chain setbacks and growing pains as it seeks to spool-up and streamline production.

Rivian-Amazon-EDV 700-commercial-electric-vanAmazon is Rivian's first and largest fleet customer to date. The ecommerce giant ordered 100,000 vans. Rivian's EDV 700 is shown above.Rivian“Launching three vehicles across two platforms during our first year of production requires the simultaneous ramp of our supply chain, hiring and training of a production workforce, equipment bring-up, and rapid iteration through production quality loops,” states Rivian’s Q3 letter to shareholders.

“In addition, we have been met with one of the most complex supply chain environments the automotive industry has ever experienced,” the letter continues. “Our team continues to work closely with our supplier partners to help mitigate issues associated with bringing up a new supply chain, and we are encouraged that the issues we are experiencing, while certainly challenging, are not systemic in nature.”

Shares rebounded to $107.09 each by Monday which is a roughly 47% decline from its record $172.01 high six days after its Nov. 10 Wall Street debut. 

Neither the Rivian R1T pickup or R1S SUV are mentioned as upcoming fleet vehicles on Rivian’s website or their shareholder newsletter which was published in mid-December. The R1T, which first rolled out to customers in September, has received glowing reviews from several media outlets including MotorTrend which crowned the EV as its 2022 Truck of the Year. 

2022 Rivian R1T electric pickupRivian has received plenty of praise and orders for its first EV, the R1T pickup, but still has not announced any plans for a fleet version.Rivian