Rivian reports delay for electric trucks, provides look inside Illinois factory

Rivian does expect a pandemic-related delay for the R1T electric pickup and R1S electric SUV, which were due to be produced starting late this year, the company confirmed to Green Car Reports Wednesday.

A message to the Rivian community sent earlier in the day, with an accompanying video, included the following: “While we expect some level of delay, we are working to minimize the disruption to our launch schedule and as we better understand the extent of the impact, you will be the first to know.”

As for the video, it provides a peek at the factory that will build electric pickup trucks and SUVs for startup Rivian, and how far it’s come already in preparation for making electric vehicles.

Located in Normal, Illinois, the factory was previously owned by Mitsubishi. The Japanese automaker shuttered the factory in 2016, and subsequently sold it to Rivian.

Image from Rivian

Image from Rivian

Rivian has spent the past few months prepping the factory for production of the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, although work has since stopped in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video shows workers installing or refurbishing equipment, including massive vats for the paint shop and assembly-line conveyor belts.

Rivian R1T, R1S chassis

Rivian R1T, R1S chassis

Rivian also converted some space into testing chambers for battery packs. At up to 180-kilowatt-hours, the battery packs used in the R1T and R1S will be among the heaviest installed in personal-use electric vehicles. The largest pack will allow for an estimated range of 400 miles for both the R1T and R1S, according to Rivian.

The startup acquired $1.3 billion in its last funding round. Both Amazon and Ford have invested in Rivian. Ford is also separately planning an electric version of its F-150 pickup, which could be a potential competitor to the R1T.

Both models are based on a shared “skateboard” platform, housing all mechanical components and allowing different bodies to be easily placed on top. The platform will also underpin Amazon electric delivery vans, and a Lincoln electric vehicle, which will also be built at the Illinois factory.