Tesla used to have a return policy. You could try a Model S and if you didn’t like it, the EV company would take it back no questions asked. For a major purchase that was a bold buyer safety net. However, in late 2020 Tesla quietly discontinued the return program.
Now, here comes Rivian.
The EV pickup and SUV start-up is laser-focused on stealing share away from Tesla — especially targeting those with active/adventure lifestyles who need to haul stuff around and enjoy various outdoor sports.
As part of that plan, Rivian is reportedly adopting a Tesla-like return program as part of its R1T and R1S sales process.
Specifically, buyers will have 7 days or up to 1,000 miles to decide if they like Rivian’s rugged take on the sporty EV of the future.
We will learn how well this all works when the Irvine-based company which was founded in 2009 starts shipping vehicles this summer. So far, at least according to the company’s web site, demand seems solid. For instance, the “Launch Edition” of the R1T EV pickup is sold out (reservations full). Impressive given that four-door model starts at $75,000 USD.
In addition, in another nod to the Tesla customer experience, Rivian is also offering touchless delivery options, including drop-off directly at the buyer’s home.
“Rivian’s newly launched Experience Hub provides several critical aspects of the R1T and R1S ownership experience. With its touchless delivery option, Rivian can deliver an R1T or R1S directly to the customer’s homes, ensuring the safety of its customers–a key point considering the pandemic. A dedicated Rivian Guide will personally assist buyers throughout their entire purchase process. Rivian informed Teslarati that it has started contacting preorder holders about their delivery times and preparations for June.”
Further, Rivian is also — again, just like Tesla — offering buyers the ability to opt for its own in-house insurance coverage. I wonder if this a fledging trend on the verge of a boom or if this experiment of direct-to-consumer insurance is just a fad. Hard to say. However, it’s hard to ignore the convenience of getting your auto insurance from the manufacturer at the time of the buy. Fewer steps. And less coordination needed seems to make for a better and likely faster overall experience. If the rates are lower than traditional players — Geico, Progressive, Mercury, et. al. — then all the better for consumers.
The mighty quick Rivian R1T (0-60 mph in only 3 seconds) starts shipping in June with a base price of $75,000 USD. Those who missed out on the “Launch Edition” can still build an “Adventure Package” from $75,000 or “Explore Package” from $67,500 for delivery starting January 2022.
Meantime deliveries for the R1S, a mid-size SUV, begin August 2021.
So: Rivian says “electric adventure is here.”
Next up: Tesla will respond soon enough I’d imagine with the wild thing that is the Cybertruck.
In any case, if you monitor and enjoy the growing EV market — Nio, Fisker, Workhorse, XPeng, Quantumscape and their quickly emerging and equally nascent peers — Rivian is certainly one to keep front and center.