Rivian is moving to its next phase of production as its output has risen sharply in recent months and the company is finally ready to launch the R1S electric SUV this summer.
So far, the EV startup had made a small number of the SUVs but kept them for employees only. The very first Rivian R1S was delivered in December 2021 to the company's CEO RJ Scaringe, followed by several other SUVs shipped to employees, including Rivian's VP of Hardware Engineering, Vidya Rajagopalan, who got her R1S in May.
Automotive News reports that deliveries will soon shift to increasingly impatient reservation holders starting in August or September. The start of customer deliveries will mark an important milestone for Rivian, which has more than 90,000 reservations for the R1T pickup and R1S SUV combined—in addition to an initial order from Amazon for 100,000 vans.
The 2022 Rivian R1S will have the market for three-row electric luxury SUVs almost all to itself, with the exception of the Tesla Model X, which has limited off-road capability compared to the Rivian and costs significantly more.
Gallery: 2022 Rivian R1S First Drive
The R1S starts at $85,575, while the aging Model X is priced from $125,940 with shipping; a less expensive dual-motor R1S is expected to start deliveries by 2024.
Rivian's rugged R1S SUV comes with a boxy design, seven seats, nearly 15 inches (381 millimeters) of ground clearance at its highest setting and 835 hp in the four-motor version that is now being produced. On top of that, its EPA-estimated range is 316 miles (508 kilometers) and the vehicle offers fast charging capability that can add up to 140 miles (225 kilometers) of range in 20 minutes under ideal conditions.
Rivian ended the second quarter of 2022 with the highest production output so far of 4,401 vehicles, bringing its cumulative total since the start of production to 7,969 vehicles. The company delivered 4,467 vehicles in Q2 compared with just 1,227 in the previous quarter.
While Rivian doesn't break down deliveries by model, data from Experian cited by Automotive News showed 2,045 R1T new-vehicle registrations in the US through the first five months of the year and zero for the R1S.
Rivian's production forecast for 2022 is 25,000 vehicles, divided among the R1T, R1S and commercial vans for Amazon. According to CEO RJ Scaringe, the plant in Normal, Illinois can build 150,000 vehicles a year under ideal conditions without supply disruptions.