US electric vehicle (EV) startup Rivian has quietly delivered the first R1S all-electric SUV – into the hands of management.

    The company posted on Twitter that its first two R1S models were delivered last week to Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe and Rivian CFO Claire McDonough.

    Rivian is known for delivering its first vehicles to its employees, then customers afterwards.

    This was the case in September 2021 when the first mass-produced examples of the R1T electric ute rolled off the production line.

    Both of these vehicles are produced at Rivian’s production facility in Normal, Illinois, which was once owned by Mitsubishi.

    This factory has recently been approved for a 57,878 square metre expansion, bringing the total footprint to around 371,612 square metres and increasing annual production capacity from 150,000 to 200,000 vehicles.

    It’ll also mean the hiring an additional 800-1000 employees in the second quarter of 2022 at the Normal factory. Rivian currently has over 3000 employees there.

    But things get bigger. Beyond the Normal factory, Rivian said it’ll spend US$5 billion (A$6.99 billion) on the construction of a “carbon-conscious campus” east of Atlanta, which Georgia Governer Brian Kemp says is the largest economic development project in the state’s history.

    Construction of this second factory will begin in mid-2022, with Rivian vehicles set to start rolling off the production line in 2024. It’ll also build the company’s “next generation of vehicles”.

    Rivian also recently announced it’ll fall short of its 2021 production target of 1200 units by a few hundred vehicles, citing the short-term hurdles of rolling out a range of new products in “one of the most complex supply chain environments the automotive industry has ever experienced”.

    As of December 15, 2021, Rivian says it has 71,000 pre-orders of its R1T ute and R1S SUV models.

    Mirroring the R1T electric ute, the R1S is available in three trim levels; base Explore, up-spec Adventure and highly-specified Launch Edition models.

    Reservations for the Launch Edition are now full, with the regular Adventure and Explore still able to be reserved with a refundable US$1000 (A$1398) deposit.

    The R1S Explore is priced from US$70,000 ($97,925) and the R1S Adventure is priced from US$75,500 (A$105,619).

    The electric SUV is available with a quad-electric motor powertrain and all-wheel drive, although Rivian doesn’t list any power or torque figures, and is claimed to do a 0-60mph sprint in 3 seconds depending on the tyre and wheel combination.

    Early technical specifications indicate initial versions of the R1S will produce 562kW of power and 1120Nm of torque and be fitted to a 135kWh battery pack supplied by Samsung SDI.

    It’ll offer a range of up to 508km according the EPA test cycle, with a more affordable version offering 402km of range along with a longer-range variant coming sometime soon.

    The R1S can tow up to 3492kg and has a maximum wading depth of more than 900mm.

    Inside there’s an option of either five or seven seats with a total cargo space of 2944L including the front boot, centre console, under-seat compartment, rear storage bin and rear boot.

    It has a vegan leather upholstery, a Meridian sound system, panoramic sunroof, and electric-height-adjustable suspension.

    Pictured: Rivian R1S (left) and Rivian R1T (right)

    There’s a suite of standard active safety features including forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring.

    Rivian says the R1S has 11 cameras, five radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 360 degree field of vision.

    Even more features will become available over time with over-the-air updates.

    The R1S electric SUV will directly compete against the GMC Hummer EV SUV which will go into production in early 2023.

    GMC has already started production of its pick-up version of the Hummer EV at its Factory ZERO plant in Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan with deliveries currently underway.

    Rivian also produces the Electric Delivery Vehicle (EDV) electric van targeted at fleet buyers.

    Amazon, one of Rivian’s key investors, has ordered 100,000 EDVs which will be delivered from this month and use a proprietary fleet management platform called FleetOS.

    The company will offer it initially only in larger 700 guise – the name comes from its 700 cubic feet of cargo capacity – but will begin production of a narrower and shorter EDV 500 in early 2022.

    Rivian has previously said an Australian launch is in its long-term plans.

    MORE: Rivian building second factory for “next generation” vehicles

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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