Rivian, the electric vehicle startup that’s gearing up for an initial public offering, continues its trend of growing fast. The company will be opening in Plymouth, Michigan a service support operations facility for vehicle owners -- and just in time, as deliveries of the launch edition of the R1T pickup are expected to commence late this month.
The facility will create 100 new jobs and come at an investment of $4.6 million, $750,000 of which comes from a business development grant from the state. Funds such as the Michigan Business Development Program are used to attract business and encourage in-state job creation and investment. This isn’t Rivian’s first time investing in Michigan -- while the company’s factory is in Normal, Illinois (with a second one likely coming), its headquarters is in Plymouth. Rivian also opened an R&D center in Dearborn in 2015 at 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 automaker “plans to support all Rivian owners” by providing “around-the-clock assistance by the Rivian Roadside and Service Support team to North American Rivian owners with vehicle questions, roadside requests and service scheduling needs,” according to a news release.
The Michigan Governor’s Office describes the new jobs as high-wage and says that they come with benefits like tuition reimbursement and childcare assistance.
Like its rival Tesla, Rivian operates under a direct sales model that allows customers to order vehicles from it directly online. Today, only 22 states allow OEMs to sell directly to customers -- in those states, Rivian can set up display rooms and offer test rides -- but there are no prohibitions from a customer ordering directly online.
Rivian also plans on keeping its servicing and support in-house. According to the company website, Rivian plans on providing 24/7 support via its Service Team, which will offer troubleshooting, diagnostics, help with setting up appointments and roadside assistance.
Just last week, Rivian confirmed to TechCrunch that it had received the necessary certifications from three separate agencies giving it the greenlight to sell and deliver the R1T and R1S SUV in all 50 states.