With interest in electric trucks on the rise, Rivian gets set for business in Seattle area

Rivian facility in Bellevue
Rivian’s logo adorns a building taking shape on Bellevue’s Auto Row. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

Rivian, the California-based electric vehicle startup that some call the “Tesla of Trucks,” is setting up a showroom in Seattle and a service center in nearby Bellevue for this year’s scheduled rollout of its R1T all-electric pickup truck and R1S sport utility vehicle.

The company’s Puget Sound presence is apt, considering that Seattle-based Amazon is one of Rivian’s marquee investors and has pledged to buy 100,000 electric vans from Rivian for its nationwide delivery fleet. Last month, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos showed off the R1T in a video made for his Blue Origin space venture.

The R1T truck, which carries a base list price starting at $67,500, is due to be delivered beginning in June. The all-electric R1S, priced at $70,000 and up, is scheduled to roll out in August. InsideEVs reports that Rivian has a full-up waiting list of about 30,000 customers for the first wave of deliveries. Deposits of $1,000 continue to be taken for later rounds.

Rivian says it’s opening 10 showrooms and 41 service centers nationwide this year.

Rivian construction site
A facility that appears to be a Rivian service center is taking shape on Bellevue’s Auto Row. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

In March, the Daily Journal of Commerce reported that Rivian’s Seattle showroom will be in the one-time home of the Federal Army & Navy Surplus Store — in the Belltown neighborhood, not far from Pike Place Market and the Amazon Spheres. Technically speaking, Rivian’s showroom isn’t the same as a dealership: Customers will be able to see the vehicles up close and take a test drive, but they won’t be able to drive a truck off the lot. Instead, purchases will be made online.

This week, we spotted what appears to be a Rivian service center taking shape on Bellevue’s Auto Row, near the intersection of Northeast Eighth Street and 116th Avenue Northeast. A check of Rivian’s hiring plans for Seattle and Bellevue confirmed the impression left by the Rivian signage at the construction site.

We’ve reached out to Rivian and will update this report with anything we hear back.

Electric trucks took the spotlight in the automotive world this week, thanks to Ford’s all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup. Today, Ford CEO Jim Farley told CNBC that the company took 20,000 reservations for the truck in the 12 hours since its big reveal on Wednesday night. Customers were required to put down a refundable $100 deposit. For what it’s worth, pricing for the Lightning starts at about $40,000 for the entry-level model, with deliveries set to begin next spring.

“With 20,000 orders already, we’re off to the races,” Farley said.

Rivian and Ford aren’t the only horses in this race: Tesla, GM and a host of startups are also planning to field electric trucks.

In 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a splash (and made a couple of windows crash) at the unveiling of his company’s all-electric Cybertruck. Tesla is now thought to have at least half a million reservations (with refundable $100 deposits) for an edgy-looking vehicle that Musk said is “the truck you want in the apocalypse.”

At the unveiling, Musk said the first dual-motor Cybertrucks would be delivered in late 2021, with the single-motor version (priced at about $40,000) rolling out a year later. Some reports suggest that Cybertruck deliveries won’t begin until 2022 — but this week, the word on the tweet is that Tesla is still planning for limited production late this year.

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Tech Automotive Electric vehicles Rivian Trucks