September was a big month for one of the auto industry’s newest startups: Rivian managed to build its first production vehicle ready for sale. In keeping with tradition for the auto industry, Rivian also managed to crash its first vehicle last month, demonstrating both the highs and lows of making trucks in America. Fortunately for you, dear reader, I was there for each of these momentous occasions, and I can provide you with the kind of insightful commentary and in-depth reporting that you’ve come to expect from the Internet.
First Production Rivian
It seemed like the big news for Rivian in September was going to be that they actually built a truck they could sell. That might seem like a non-story considering the fact that Rivian is an auto manufacturer and their entire purpose for existing is making vehicles, but in this case, it’s really not. Release of the inaugural Rivian R1T has been plagued by delays over the last year or two, including issues with parts, the chip shortage, and waiting for approval by various Federal regulatory agencies here in the US.
But finally, last month, they completed all the certifications and approvals they needed from organizations like the EPA and NHTSA, allowing them to sell the R1T in all 50 states. So yes, congratulations, Rivian, on doing literally the one thing you’re supposed to do as a car company. You’ve earned the biggest participation trophy in the auto industry – so kudos for that! Now let’s see how your trucks actually do…
First Crashed Rivian
Ah, this is how they do. Just a few days after building the first production model of the R1T, Rivian celebrated another major first: the first crash involving a Rivian R1T. Although sources indicate that it was one of the pre-production models that have been around for a while, I wouldn’t be surprised if the first Rivian pickup rolled off the factory floor and immediately tried to kill itself and everyone around it. EV trucks are maniacal death machines, after all, so it should come as little surprise that they’re already causing mayhem and destruction.
Photos and witness reports from the scene tell an interesting tale: the Rivian R1T apparently hopped a curb, drove up onto a grassy knoll of some sort, proceeded to steamroll through a bunch of hedges, and then slammed into two parked cars. One of them was a Ford Explorer, while the other was a Mercedes-Benz – I would’ve been prouder of the R1T if it had the good sense to target a Ford F-150 or to put a Chrysler out of its misery. But going after the Explorer and a Mercedes just seems like punching above its weight class.
The R1T was relatively unharmed in this altercation, but pictures show it banged the living hell out of the Ford. There was pretty decent damage done to the Mercedes – as it should be – while the Explorer’s hood was twisted and mauled like a child that’s fallen into a bear enclosure at a zoo. Of course, what these witness reports fail to mention is what I saw after the Rivian slammed into these two vehicles: it backed up and rushed forward again to strike both models a second time for good measure. Or maybe I just imagined that; it’s hard to tell these days.
Rivian Crashes into a Bright Future
According to a brief statement from Rivian, the crash was caused by “driver error” and involved a Rivian employee operating a pre-production prototype R1T model. They also stated that “All safety features performed as intended.” It would seem that using a Mercedes-Benz or a Ford SUV as a cushion to help stop when plowing wildly out of control is one of the intended safety features for the R1T. With this new information, I can safely say that Rivian is the finest auto manufacturer in the US, and you should dump all of your crypto money into this bold, new enterprise, working hard to redefine what we expect from a truck!
Editor’s Note: We considered, briefly, reaching out to Rivian for a further statement about this incident. After a moment of consultation, we chose instead to enjoy the gorgeous autumn weather that has gently eased up to our area. We’re roasting a chicken here at The Lemon offices, with some savory stuffing to go with, and there’s an apple pie cooling on an open window. If you’d like some pie, please come visit us and bring vanilla ice cream. Thank you.