For many Rivian R1T customers, it's not the configuring, the ordering or the paying that is the hardest part.
It's the waiting.
The R1T electric pickup — the company's first consumer vehicle — has had four delivery dates in the last year, going from late 2020, to June to July and now September.
One more significant delay could not only see Rivian lose the race to be first on the market with an electric pickup, but it might also seriously damage the startup's credibility and ding sales. At least that's the sentiment on Rivian forums, where several posters have said they are taking a closer look at electric vehicles they can buy now, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y.
As it stands today, the first R1T deliveries are scheduled to begin sometime in September. General Motors expects to start deliveries of the GMC Hummer electric pickup this fall. If both timelines hold, Rivian will still be first — but not by much. And if it isn't, consumers will have other models to consider. There's the battery-electric Ford F-150 Lightning scheduled for spring. Electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 pickups also are in the pipeline. Bollinger Motors is still working on its electric pickup — and the funding to get it into production.
To be fair, the latest R1T delay — announced July 16 in a note to customers from Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe — should not have come as a surprise to those paying close attention to the auto industry.
Many automakers are struggling to launch vehicles on time because of lingering effects of the pandemic, and, more recently, the chip shortage. The Ford Bronco SUV launching now, for example, is months late, and not all options are available. Production of other in-demand vehicles, such as the Land Rover Defender and Chevrolet Corvette, have been disrupted.
But many of Rivian's early customers are not focused on the auto industry's daily struggles. They just want their electric trucks now.