Rivian is gearing up for the task, with 21 service centers now open in US metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas and Orlando. The automaker said half a dozen more are planned by the end of the year. Its first service facility outside the US – in Vancouver, British Columbia – opens in the fall.
Although the Irvine, Calif., automaker announced layoffs of about 6 percent of its work force last week, it said it would continue hiring for service positions and additional factory workers.
Rivian does not have traditional retail locations. Rather, its first “Rivian Hub” in Venice, California, near Los Angeles, serves as a community center for events and an experience center for Rivian products.
One innovation Rivian and other startups are using mobile service to get ahead of traditional automakers. Tomafsky said the company’s Bay Area service center uses both R1Ts and larger vans specially equipped for large service jobs.
“Many people would rather go to their home or place of business than come here for us,” Tomafsky said. “We’re going to reduce that pain point,” especially in the area with crushed traffic during long stretches of the day.
Rivian vehicles, with over-the-air updates, can sometimes be fixed with software alone. And because they are connected to the cloud, some diagnostic services can be performed remotely, making in-person repairs faster.
“We’re really in a good rhythm right now,” Tomafsky said. “We don’t want customers to wait.”
The South San Francisco location will get a reprieve from a Rivian service center in San Jose that is set to open this year. The greater Silicon Valley region remains the heart of the EV industry – with Tesla’s factory in Fremont and Lucid’s headquarters in Newark.