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Rivian's R1S and R1T delayed until 2021 due to the pandemic

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One of the most eagerly awaited debuts of the year in the electric-mobility domain was the arrival of Rivian's first model. The EV startup has been developing two products: the R1T pickup truck and the R1S SUV.

The current pandemic has played havoc with the company's plans as it has with so many others. Rivian today confirmed its scheduled first two vehicles will not debut before the end of this year as planned. The timeline has been pushed back to 2021 for the two Rivian electric vehicles first unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2018.

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Rivian R1T
Photo: Rivian
Rivian R1T

In preparation for their launch, Rivian was working to retrofit a former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois. But the company had to send the workers home on March 18 after containment orders were put in place to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. A video released April 1 shows Rivian's progress in transforming the plant that was last used to build the Mitsubishi RVR (known as the Outlander Sport in the United States).

The company is taking steps to minimize the disruption to its plans - thus a handful of contractors are still on site to work on the plant's transformation. However, most of Rivian's 300 employees are at home, and are being fully paid during the temporary shutdown.

Rivian has been labeled one of the biggest rising stars in the world of electric vehicles, and it’s easy to see why. The company has managed to get its hands on billions of investment dollars by partnering with firms like Amazon, Cox Automotive and Ford, and it has received orders for future vehicles from Amazon and Ford. Rivian is preparing to build delivery vehicles for the former and an SUV for the latter’s Lincoln division.

Rivian van for Amazon
Photo: Rivian
Rivian van for Amazon