Rivian, the electric vehicle start-up gearing up for a IPO, continues its trend of rapid growth. The company will open a service support facility for vehicle owners in Plymouth, Michigan — and just in time, as delivery of the launch edition of the R1T pickup is expected to begin at the end of this month.
The facility will create 100 new jobs and generate a $4.6 million investment, of which $750,000 will come from a state business development grant. Funds such as the Michigan Business Development Program are used to attract businesses and encourage job creation and investment in the state. This isn’t Rivian’s first time investing in Michigan — while the company’s plant is in Normal, Illinois (with a second likely to come), the head office is in Plymouth. Rivian also opened an R&D center in Dearborn in 2015, with a capital investment of $29.5 million.
The new center will be an extension of Rivian’s current headquarters, a company spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch. Through the new center, the electric vehicle maker “plans to support all Rivian owners” by providing “24-hour assistance by the Rivian Roadside and Service Support team to North American Rivian owners with vehicle queries, roadside requests and service planning needs.” according to a press release.
The Michigan Governor’s Office describes the new jobs as high wages and says they come with benefits such as tuition reimbursement and childcare.
Like its rival Tesla, Rivian operates on a direct sales model that allows customers to order vehicles directly from the company online. Today, in only 22 states, OEMs allow direct sales to customers — those states allow Rivian to set up exhibition spaces and offer test drives — but there are no bans on a customer ordering directly online.
Rivian also plans to keep the service and support in-house. According to the company’s website, Rivian plans to provide 24/7 support through its service team, which will provide troubleshooting, diagnosis, assistance with scheduling and roadside assistance.
Last week, Rivian confirmed to TechCrunch that it… receive the necessary certifications from three separate agencies giving the go-ahead to sell and ship the R1T and R1S SUV in all 50 states.