Rivian’s creating EV charging network in the wilderness

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Rivian is building its own charging network, with an emphasis on charging stations in remote locations, CEO RJ Scaringe said in an interview with TechCrunch published Tuesday.

To match the rugged marketing angle of its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, the company plans to locate charging stations near hiking trails, kayaking spots, and other recreational destinations.

The network will include DC fast-charging stations and slower “destination chargers” at locations where speed isn’t as important, according to TechCrunch. Tesla has taken a similar approach, augmenting its Supercharger fast-charging stations with Level 2 AC stations at places where drivers are likely to dwell, such as hotels, urban parking garages, and restaurants.

Securing locations for charging stations presents a “really interesting and challenging real estate” problem, Scaringe said. That echoes comments by Electrify America staffers, who have indicated the old real-estate maxim “location, location, location” is particularly true for fast-charging stations.

Rivian R1S

Rivian owners may use Electrify America and other third-party networks, as the company uses the same Combined Charging Standard (CCS) as many other automakers. But Scaringe said Rivian wanted its own network in order to control the customer experience.

Scaringe said Rivian fast-charging stations will be able to add 140 miles of range in 20 minutes, adding that the company will deploy charging stations for both consumer and fleet use. Rivian is building 100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon, using a version of the “skateboard” platform from the R1T and R1S, but with a body-shell design exclusive to the online retail giant.

In addition to charging stations, Rivian has discussed other methods of getting its vehicles to remote destinations, including auxiliary battery packs and truck-to-truck charging.

Jeep, meanwhile, is building solar-powered charging stations along off-road trails for its Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid, but these are slower Level 2 AC units.

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Saurabh Shukla

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