The startup Rivian has begun pre-production of its first model, the R1T electric pick-up. At this stage, workers are responsible for almost wholly assembling the various units on the manufacturing line; however, when series production begins, the process will be much more automated and rely primarily on robots.
Rivian’s factory in Normal, Illinois, belonged to Mitsubishi until 2015, passing into the hands of its new owner two years later. This situation is quite reminiscent of that of the Fremont factory, which, before being owned by Tesla, was operated by General Motors and Toyota, which left the facilities in 2010.
Rivian planned to begin deliveries of the R1T by the end of the year; However, the coronavirus pandemic has altered the initial plans, delaying the start of its commercialization until June 2021. However, the model will reach the market before its main rivals, among which we can find the Tesla Cybertruck and GMC Hummer EV.
Deliveries of the R1S SUV, derived from the R1T, will begin just a couple of months later, in August 2021. Although the R1T has monopolized most of the covers in recent months due to its rivalry with the Cybertruck, the truth is that the R1S will be a vehicle much better adapted to international markets (although at the moment, it is unknown if it will be marketed outside of North America).
The current moment is crucial for the future of Rivian, not only because it is immersed in the pre-production of its first model before its launch next year, but because the company faces a lawsuit from Tesla, which has accused Rivian of stealing trade secrets after Rivian hired several former Tesla employees.