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Rivian is one of the most exciting EV companies on the market. Despite the high prices and long waits, Rivian still has buyers frenzied. The company’s appeal is impressive, especially considering how new and small the company is. However, a new, small company doesn’t come without its hangups. A Rivian R1S owner knows this better than anyone after waiting two years for his SUV, only for it to die within 48 hours. 

A yellow Rivian R1S electric SUV sits in front a green lawn under midday sun.
Rivian R1S l Kevin Dietsch | Via Getty Images

When does the Rivian R1S start delivery? 

The Rivian R1S has already started delivery, but only just. The first Rivian R1S was delivered in December 2021. However, given the ongoing production log jam, Rivian hasn’t delivered many R1Ss. However, many more Rivian R1Ts have been delivered.

According to CarScoops, Chase Merrill ordered his Rivian SUV back in 2020. After waiting three years, the day finally came when his brand-new electric SUV was delivered. Unfortunately, on the second day of his new-car bliss, his Rivian died. 

The Rivian R1S died

Close-up shot of the Rivian badge on a new R1S electric SUV.
Rivian R1S l Kevin Dietsch | Via Getty Images

On his way to some family property in the Adirondack mountains, he came across of bit of snow drift. So much of the Rivian ethos is off-roading. Excited to try his new electric SUV, he charged the snow drift, and the Rivian ate it up as expected at first. 

After digging into the snow, the Rivian R1S got stuck. Getting stuck didn’t break anything. However, while trying to get unstuck, something triggered the Rivian’s safety system when shifting between “drive” and “park.” Merrill believes the electric SUV essentially was stuck in between “drive” and “park.” Unable to coax his new electric SUV out of its icy spot, he eventually called in reinforcements. The worst part came when the tow truck had to tow the Rivian a few hundred miles to the nearest Rivian service center in Massachusetts. This was a costly tow, $2,100, to be exact. 

Can you work on a Rivian yourself? 

New cars are getting harder and harder to work on and service yourself. Electric cars, in many ways, are even harder to work on yourself, but in this case, the Rivian’s issue could have been worked out with a simple reset the owner could have done himself. The frustrating part about that is that supposedly the Rivian customer service team failed to mention that to Merrill. 

After hearing about the story, Rivian apologized and offered to cover the (supposedly) unneeded repair costs, but the company did not offer to cover the towing expenses. CarScoops says that was until Business Insider reached out to Rivian on the issue. Rivian then walked back and said it would cover the towing as well. Even worse still was when Merrill finally received his doomed SUV back, and it displayed a critical error message instructing him to return it to the service center. *facepalm*

How is Rivian customer service?

“There was an unfortunate cascade of events and edge cases that led to this situation,” said Wassym Bensaid, Rivian’s senior vice president of software development, to Business Insider. “But we take this feedback as a gift. It’s great input for us to improve the product.”

“There’s nuance to that ownership experience that we have to make sure that they understand,” Tony Caravano, Rivian’s head of customer engagement, told Business Insider. “One of the great learnings here is for us to be even more even more communicative about key parts and key elements of the ownership experience when we know that customers live in more remote areas.” 

While Rivian is looking at this incident as a glass half full, Merrill is likely less thrilled about Rivian’s information “gift.” While Merrill still likes Rivian, he is less thrilled about spending $85k to be the startup’s test rat.