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Amazon-backed Rivian Announces Plans to Build its Own EV Charging Network

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【Summary】Unlike other automakers and major electric charging companies, Rivian is looking to introduce new charging stations in adventurous locations for owners looking to take their EVs off-road. 

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Dec 13, 2020 7:45 AM PT
Amazon-backed Rivian Announces Plans to Build its Own EV Charging Network

Rivian has covered its vehicles' off-roading capabilities at great length. The R1S and R1T are expected to be able to ford through three feet of water, rock crawl at a 100 percent grade, and boast 14 inches of ground clearance. The Launch Edition model will even come with large all-terrain tires. Clearly, Rivian wants consumers to take its vehicles off-roading. To help with that, the automaker announced plans to build its own EV charging network.

Chargers Off The Beaten Path

Unlike the majority of automakers or companies that are looking into building electric chargers, Rivian won't just focus on hot spots. Sure, Rivian will have fast chargers located along interstates, but the automaker is also looking to add dozens of EV chargers in adventurous destinations. Hiking and mountain bike trails, climbing locals, and kayaking spots are all locations where Rivian is looking to set up a charging spot.

The decision to add chargers to locals where consumers normally wouldn't be able to find one shows just how well Rivian knows its consumers. Having an electric charging station near your favorite off-the-road spot, will help quell range anxiety. It will also help Rivian, a largely unknown brand against Tesla, Porsche, Audi, Ford, General Motors, and Volkswagen, get a leg up on the competition. Knowing that Rivian is the company that's finally put an electric charger near your favorite hiking spot could help sway some shoppers.

"We're excited about the opportunity to create Rivian charging locations that aren't on the interstate, that help draw you or enable you to go to places that normally are not the kinds of places that invite or welcome electric vehicles because of charging infrastructure," Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe told TechCrunch.

Full Coverage Is Still Far Off

"We've spent a lot of time thinking about how you can essentially create these curated drives where, depending on your point of interest, you can pick different paths. If you want to stop midway through the trip for a one-mile, two-mile or five-mile hike, you know, here's a route that you want to take and here's a charging location right next to it."

Beyond putting chargers in interesting locations, Rivian's decision to use in-house designed chargers is also interesting. It's a similar thing Telsa did with its network of Superchargers. Unlike Tesla, though, Rivian's EVs will have a standard CCS charge connector, which means the R1S and R1T will be able to use the Rivian Adventure Network in addition to charging stations from EVGo, Chargepoint, and Electrify America. It's possible that Rivian could allow EVs from other automakers to use its chargers. Rivian's chargers are expected to provide 140 miles of range in 20 minutes.

Rivian doesn't have any specific information on how many chargers it plans to have up in the next few years, but Scaringe told the outlet that dozens of charging stations will come out in 2021. Each charging station will have an average of six charging connectors. "Dense coverage" isn't expected to happen until 2023 or 2024.

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