Rivian is taking a page from Tesla's playbook


By Nicholas Yekikian

Regardless of their seemingly endless financial troubles, production difficulties and quality control issues, Tesla has done one thing no other electric automaker has done or will ever be able to do again: it was first. It was the first company to prove that electric cars weren’t some novel, far-off concept, the first to take a legitimate shot at other luxury automakers in the segment and the first to struggle through the production woes of an emerging automaker. 

As a result, the brand now serves as the perfect case study: a sort of litmus test for any emerging automaker to judge themselves by and, hopefully, learn from. One of Tesla’s biggest problems was the simple fact that they couldn’t service all their cars. This resulted in long wait times for repairs and Tesla even outsourced some of the work to 3rd party companies.

Rivian, the newest major player in EVs, has had the luxury of watching Tesla closely for the better part of the last decade, and they’re hoping to learn from its struggles. InsideEVs reported on Tuesday that, in a number of recent interviews, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe talked about what its plans are when it comes to servicing its vehicles.

“So, we’re spending a huge amount of time solving service, not just in your big cities, not just in LA or Seattle, but if you buy a car and you let’s say live 50 miles out from the city or live 200 miles away from the city… How do you manage that? So, those are some of the harder sort of challenges we’re thinking through and making sure it’s easy to service the vehicle,” Scaringe said.

Service is clearly in Rivian’s plans, and Scaringe hopes to take another play out of Tesla’s book and build a brand for Rvian.

"I think any great brand…that customers are going to be excited about and that customers are going to want to be part of, it has to fundamentally reset expectations. It has to disprove untruths. Tesla took the untruth that electric cars were boring and slow — that they were glorified golf carts — and they disproved that. They showed people that an electric car can be exciting and fun,” he said.

Rivian’s launch of the R1T and R1S was one of the most exciting debuts of last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, and hopefully Scaringe will steer his fledgling company in the right direction. 

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