Georgia Needs a Franchise Law Change to Buy the Rivian R1T

Can you imagine working for an automaker without the ability to buy the product you make?  This is exactly what faces Georgia residents in the Atlanta area once the new Rivian R1T plant is built.  Plans are underway to break ground for this new plant later this summer, with the production of the R1T electric pickup truck starting in 2024.  Something has to change to allow the Rivian workforce in Georgia to purchase the trucks they build.

What’s stopping Rivian employees from buying the R1T?

Rivian R1T Driving on a Gravel Trail
Rivian R1T | Rivian

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According to Green Car Reports, the current laws in Georgia prohibit direct sales of vehicles from automakers to customers.  What this means is that a dealership is required in this state to sell new vehicles.  This state isn’t the only one in the country where this is a roadblock for companies that don’t have a dealership network, but a current filing is under consideration to change this situation.

Tons of support for the factory but this one roadblock remains

Just over a month ago, Rivian announced its plans to build a new plant near Atlanta to produce the Rivian R1T.  This announcement came with a commitment from Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to spend $125 million of the taxpayers’ money on land and training for the facility.  This investment incentivizes Rivian to build its new factory in this location.

Unfortunately, if lawmakers don’t make some changes, employees of the Rivian factory won’t be able to buy the trucks they build.  This company has lobbied for changes to the law to allow direct sales in this state.  Tesla did the same thing in 2015 but was met with failure when it failed to pass the Georgia House of Representatives last year.

While Georgia works to solve this problem with its relationship with Rivian, we’ll take a look at what the new R1T will bring to the automotive market.

What is the Rivian R1T?

The brand is a new EV startup in America, and the vehicle is an electric pickup truck.  The new Rivian R1T will use four electric motors to give this vehicle full-time 4WD and some interesting features, including items like a “Gear Tunnel” to ensure this truck is ready to be used for some outdoor adventures. 

We see this new truck will fit into the midsize pickup truck segment as the first electric model offered.  The starting price of this new truck is $67,500, which makes this truck more expensive than the new Ford F-150 Lightning but allows it to be more affordable than the GMC Hummer EV.  For the 2022 model year, these are the only other two electric trucks we know will be part of the mix.

What is the Gear Tunnel?

Gear Tunnel for the Rivian R1T
Rivian R1T Gear Tunnel | Rivian

This feature is an area positioned between the rear doors and rear wheels. It measures 11 cubic feet to give you added storage room that is covered and protected from the weather.  This is where you could choose to keep the optional pull-out Camp Kitchen. This kitchen is a $5,000 add-on to this truck. 

Advanced driving with the Driver+ system of the Rivian R1T

Every model of this Rivian truck will have the Driver+ system included. This system gives you 11 cameras, five radar units, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. They support your advanced driver assistance features that alert you to any issues you might find out on the road.  Right now, this might be the system that’s closest to autonomous driving. Even so, you still need to maintain focus when you drive this truck.

Capable driving with the right power

Rivian pre-order holders for the R1T and R1S need to take action
The Rivian R1T electric truck out in the wild | Rivian

Using four electric motors, this truck provides you with 800 horsepower and 900 lb.-ft. of torque to get you where you’re going.  This power level gives you enough strength to pull up to 11,000 pounds in your trailer. The quoted driving range is 314 miles when starting out with a full charge in the battery pack.  This truck doesn’t use a single drop of gasoline but gives you all the truck power you could ask for.

Will residents of Georgia be able to buy the truck they build?

Thankfully, production of the Rivian R1T in Georgia won’t begin until 2024. This gives lawmakers two years to solve the challenge of enabling residents to buy this new truck in the state.  Until then, we can discuss and admire what the R1T brings to the market and prepare for the new Rivian facility to get up and running.  Will this problem be solved?  We’ll all have to wait and see how Georgia rules on this matter.

Next, check out how the Ford Maverick is becoming a delivery vehicle, or watch how capable the Rivian R1T can be when towing in the video below:

This article was updated on 8/31/2022.

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