Rivian plans to use preventive maintenance and household services for his next electric pickup and SUV, promising an end to waiting for parts and suffering due to the dealer’s bad coffee while you wait for repairs. The new maintenance commitment comes before deliveries of the Rivian R1T, the automaker’s first EV, which – like others in the pipeline – will be a so-called connected vehicle.
This data connection will allow Rivian to send OTA (over-the-air) software updates, adding new features and providing firmware patches to resolve issues noted by their owners. However, the automaker also plans to use this to remotely monitor how its EVs are doing and, in the process, potentially detect problems before they really become serious.
“Rivian Remote Care allows us to carry out comprehensive diagnostics at a distance, through our platform of connected vehicles”, explained the company today. “Most problems can be proactively identified thanks to our set of integrated sensors and associated predictive algorithms. We can often notify you before you even notice a problem.
The maintenance itself will be done on site as much as possible, rather than involving Rivian vehicles being taken to a centralized service center. Rivian Remote Care will have mobile service vans that “can perform most vehicle care needs at home, the workplace or wherever your vehicle is,” says the company. It will operate anywhere in the US and Canada, the initial launch markets for the R1T and subsequent R1S SUV, although Rivian plans to expand this as its car sales regions expand.
Another side benefit of EV connectivity will be Rivian’s ability to remotely unlock and even start them. Thus, the company suggests, technicians will be able – with authorization – to work on vehicles without the owner really having to be present. Since EVs will be able to proactively warn of impending part problems in some cases, Rivian will be able to pre-order the right components for technicians to have on hand.
It is all a strategy that, at least in part, was tried by other automakers. Tesla, in particular, has made increasing use of mobile technicians, bringing services to customers, not the other way around. The automaker is also believed to be using some degree of predictive maintenance, allowing EVs to warn when they may need a new component. As Elon Musk’s company discovered, however, there will always be times when a vehicle will have to be brought in for a more complex job, powered by electricity or not.
Rivian says he will have more than 40 service centers in the United States and Canada by the end of this year, with more to come after that. There will also be Rivian-certified property collision centers, responsible for handling the type of bodywork and external damage that normally represent a large proportion of service requests.
Whatever the location or the problem, this will be handled through the Rivian application. This will allow notifications of potential problems reported by the EV or owner reports, including diagnostics and scheduling. Rivian also plans to give each owner a dedicated team member to act as a first point of contact, helping to guide them on what might be the property of their first EV. This will include access to the Rivian Adventure Network, a series of exclusive EV chargers that the automaker plans to build in the coming years.