Where should Rivian build charging stations?

Cougs

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Mount Rainier National Park Washington
Mount Hood National Park, Oregon
Glacier National Park, Montana
 

RC1

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My garage would be a great place for one! Won’t even require a parks pass to get in.
 

ajdelange

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At this point in time there is Tesla and everyone else. Rivian had better understand the reason for this is in no small measure Tesla's charging network. I have to believe that range anxiety is still the number two (behind cost) deterrent to wider EV ownership. Experience with Tesla has largely dissolved range anxiety for me but that was after I ran around in the car for a while. I still experience range anxiety whenever contemplating travel far from Tesla Superchargers. The alternatives are either way too slow, way too few, or way too unreliable. Electrify America, which is what it appears Rivian is now relying on, has a long way to go before they even begin to approach the Tesla network. Whether I convert my deposit to a PO or not will be largely dependent on what the charging possibilities are for the Rivian's when they actually become available.

Rivian would, IMO, be well advised to enter into negotiations with Tesla. But they have already apparently settled on the CCS connector. I suppose it is not too late to add a Telsa connector or come up with a Tesla to CCS adapter (there is no CCS to Tesla adapter AFAIK so the two standards may be incompatible but the European SC's now, as I understand it, have Tesla and CCS connectors).
 

Cosmacelf

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At this point in time there is Tesla and everyone else. Rivian had better understand the reason for this is in no small measure Tesla's charging network.
I agree 100%. For an adventure brand, charging at remote locations is JOB #1. For instance, I recently drove 2.5 hours from San Diego (probably 2 hours from Los Angeles) to a local ski hill, where 4 wheel drive is a must. But there is ZERO high speed (or low speed for that matter) charging infrastructure there. You simply can't drive there in an EV of any kind unless you have a house there with an EV charger.

Rivian isn't completely relying on Electrify America since they have said that they will build their own charging stations at key destination spots. This sounds good on paper, but how many chargers in how many locations can they afford?

Let's do the math: Rivian is looking to make 20,000 vehicles a year. If they allocated $2,000 per vehicle as a cost for building out their charging locations, that gives them $40M. Each high speed location will cost around $250K at a minimum (assuming a small number of charging spots per location, like, say two, which works for remote locations). And then you have operational costs (electricity, vandalism, maintenance, labor) of maybe $50K per location per year. So that's about 130 locations around the world. Or maybe in the US, if they sell their first year only in the US. And these are pretty optimistic numbers.

Is that good? It's not a bad start. I would like to see Rivian announce something on the charging front, however. If they start site selection now, they might have their first site ready in a year. It takes that long to negotiate access, design the site, go through permitting, and then finally construction. If they use a third party to build locations (like Chargepoint), then halve those location numbers since a third party will cost a lot more.

Rivian would, IMO, be well advised to enter into negotiations with Tesla. But they have already apparently settled on the CCS connector. I suppose it is not too late to add a Telsa connector or come up with a Tesla to CCS adapter (there is no CCS to Tesla adapter AFAIK so the two standards may be incompatible but the European SC's now, as I understand it, have Tesla and CCS connectors).
While Tesla does have some chargers near adventure locations, even they are challenged here. Tesla's locations are in urban areas or along long distance corridors for the most part.
 

ajdelange

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While Tesla does have some chargers near adventure locations, even they are challenged here. Tesla's locations are in urban areas or along long distance corridors for the most part.
Rivian's longer range ameliorates this some what. Let's suppose your ski trip took you to Big Bear. There may be no fast chargers at Big Bear, perhaps, but there is a Tesla Charger (with 16 stalls) at Cabazon which is only 61 mi from Big Bear. If the Rivians really deliver 400 mi you could top up at Cabazon and have 400 - 122 = 278 miles of range for running around at Big Bear (plus, I assume, the Rivians will have some sort of wall charging and/or NEMA receptacle charging options - even 2 mph can give you something worth having over night or while skiing all day.

Now take the Tesla chargers out of this hypothetical picture. There are 3 CCS chargers near Big Bear but they only have 3 or 4 stalls and they are limited to 50 kW. I'd be more comfortable were the Tesla chargers available.

It's still early days with respect to everyone else so let's hope that Rivian turns out to be as smart as Tesla was in this regard.

PS: Just noticed that you used Big Bear as an example in an earlier post.
 

Cosmacelf

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Your range estimates for Big Bear are a tad optimistic :). First, rarely do you charge to 100% on the road since it takes too long to get that last 10%. Second, driving up to the ski area takes a lot more energy, and you don't reclaim all that energy coming back down the mountain. Third, it's cold up there, so that uses a lot of extra range. In my Model X, I parked it at a restaurant at night with 7% range remaining. I came back out less than an hour later with 4% remaining and got to my rental house (which thank god had a garage with a plug) with 2% left. Trust me, you don't want to go to Big Bear without the ability to charge overnight there at 240V in any EV.
 

ajdelange

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Roger that. Just pointing out that I'd be a lot more comfortable with the extra 100 miles range beyond what the X gives me than with what the X gives me. I just wanted to make the point that were my X rated at 400+ miles I'd be more comfortable driving to Big Bear than I would be with it's actual rated 295 mile range.
 

ajdelange

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I've been looking into this a bit further and was pleasantly surprised when I tried ABRP on the long run I do more than any other. It found 1 Electrify America station with 4 x 350 and 11 x 150 kW stalls and a couple of 50 kW ChargePoint and EvGO stations all right on the route so the trip would be feasible today were the vehicle available. Long charge times (1.5 hr) would be required at the lower power stations but we can hope that Electrify America will move along in its plans and/or that EvGO's reputation will improve.

So now I'll shift my concerns to service. Will there be Rangers?

Update Edit: One of the stations is operated by BMW through ChargePoint and has multiple stalls. A recently as a month or so back ALL of them are reported as broken. Guess I'll go back to my original worry.
 
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Cosmacelf

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I've been looking into this a bit further and was pleasantly surprised when I tried ABRP on the long run I do more than any other. It found 1 Electrify America station with 4 x 350 and 11 x 150 kW stalls and a couple of 50 kW ChargePoint and EvGO stations all right on the route so the trip would be feasible today were the vehicle available. Long charge times (1.5 hr) would be required at the lower power stations but we can hope that Electrify America will move along in its plans and/or that EvGO's reputation will improve.

So now I'll shift my concerns to service. Will there be Rangers?

Update Edit: One of the stations is operated by BMW through ChargePoint and has multiple stalls. A recently as a month or so back ALL of them are reported as broken. Guess I'll go back to my original worry.
That’s the number one concern for third party chargers. Maintenance. It took Tesla a little while to realize this themselves. The early V1 chargers were prone to failure and Tesla had to scramble to help drivers because there were so few high speed chargers back then. But Tesla took the charging network seriously and absolutely stands behind them, dispatching repair crews at the first hint of trouble. In one infamous event, there was an area wide power outage that affected the Harris Ranch Supercharger when it was the only central California link. So Tesla rented out several flatbed trailers and ferried cars to and from Harris Ranch to the next Supercharger. That’s taking the charging network seriously.

That is unlikely to happen again since there are many more chargers everywhere. But the third party charging networks generally don’t give a crap if a particular charger is out of service for weeks at a time. Will Electrify America be better? I have my doubts, but I guess we will have to see.

I agree that this is the number 1 problem Rivian has to solve. That’s why I keep waiting for them to make more announcements on the charging front. It’s still early days, they have a while to figure it out. But my advice to them is to not “wait and see” how it turns out, but to take proactive steps now to address this issue. Not “waiting and seeing” is what sets Tesla apart from all other EV manufacturers.
 

Cosmacelf

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On the service front, Rivian is planning on using existing auto dealerships. I actually think this plan will work. Dealers will send their top mechanics to the Rivian training courses. Rivian will have to use the traditional car manufacturer method of having Model years and not changing much during that year, unlike Tesla, who I swear charges components in their new car builds every week (only a slight exaggeration).
 
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