A Rivian R1S electric SUV is parked outside Rivian's new Austin facility on Oct. 6, 2022.

Electric vehicle maker Rivian is expanding into Austin with a service center that will also double as a place for its Central Texas customers to pick up their new rides.

Rivian — considered a rival of Austin-based Tesla — adds to the city’s growing hub of electric vehicle companies with its new 24,000-square-foot center, which opened last month in North Austin near the Crestview neighborhood.

Irvine, Calif.-based Rivian, founded in 2009 with a goal of producing vehicles that are “rugged, luxurious and battery powered,” makes an electric sport utility vehicle and a pickup truck.

The front office of Rivian's new Austin facility on Oct. 6, 2022. The location services vehicles and also is a delivery and pickup hub for new vehicles.

Its new Austin site will employ up to a few dozen people and provide service for Rivian vehicles in the region, as well as a place for customers to pick up preordered vehicles or view vehicles in person before making purchases. It also will provide Rivian owners in the Austin area with select mobile services to homes and businesses.

Similar to Tesla, Rivian customers make purchases online instead of through dealerships. In addition to providing a place for customers to pick up their vehicles, the Austin center will deliver and service electric delivery vehicles for Amazon, which is attempting to make its delivery fleet more environmentally friendly, once those vehicles come to market. Amazon owns 17.7% of Rivian, while Ford owns 11.4%.

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Currently, Rivian’s two main vehicles include its pickup truck, the R1T, which starts at $67,500 and is one of the first electric pickup trucks on the market. Its selling points include a range of 315 miles, the ability to go from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds, a towing capacity of up to 11,000 pounds and off-road capability. Rivian’s SUV has the same range, off-road abilities and acceleration, and the company says it can tow up to 7,700 pounds.

Charlie Reynolds, senior field specialist for Rivian, conducts a final quality check on a Rivian R1T electric pickup at Rivian's new Austin facility on Oct. 6, 2022.

Rivian started producing vehicles in September 2021 and completed just over 1,000 vehicles last year. This year, the company has a full-year target of 25,000 vehicles and has produced over 14,000 so far.

But it has faced headwinds in recent weeks, after announcing it will be voluntarily recalling nearly all of the vehicles it has produced, because a fastener connecting the front upper control arm and steering knuckle may not have been “sufficiently torqued” in some vehicles. Under the recall, the fasteners will be checked at Rivian service centers and tightened if needed.


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