Rivian electric ute and SUVs ruled out for Australia until 2024

Rivian climbing a sand dune

Sales of adventure lifestyle vehicles are booming, but Australians might be waiting until at least 2024 to get a hold of an electric R1T ute or R1S SUV from American startup Rivian.

In its latest filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Rivian Automotive detailed its long-term growth strategy, suggesting Australia might be at the bottom of its expansion plan list.

“Our launch is focused on the U.S. and Canadian markets. We intend to enter Western European markets in the near-term, followed by entry into major Asian-Pacific markets,” Rivian states.

“To serve our global demand, we plan to localise production and supply chains in these regions.

“The R1T and R1S are currently undergoing product homologation for Canada and we expect to enter the Western European market in 2023 with R1 platform variants,” it states.

White Rivian R1T front

Joining the dots, this alludes to Asia-Pacific markets, including Australia, waiting until at least 2024 for an official launch.

The off-road focused electric automaker has previously expressed its strong interest in expanding to Australia. Spy photos spotted two Rivian’s at Sydney Airport and the R1T and R1S were caught testing on snow and ice in New Zealand.

Exacerbating its potential launch timeline Down Under, the Amazon-backed American startup stresses it is focused on fulfilling its pre-order backlog of around 55,400 cars by the end of 2023 in its home country first.

Additionally, Rivian notes complying with international regulations, such as Australian Design Rules, will take its time.

Blue Rivian R1T in factory

“Internationally, there may be laws in jurisdictions that may restrict our sales or other business practices,” Rivian states.

“While we have analysed the principal laws in the United States, EU, China, Japan, United Kingdom, and Australia relating to our distribution model and believe we comply with such laws, the laws in this area can be complex, difficult to interpret and may change over time, and thus require ongoing review.

“Further, we have not performed a complete analysis of all jurisdictions in which we may sell vehicles,” it states.

However, it also notes later, “Large geographies which may become important to our future success, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, and India, have passed or are considering comparable data privacy legislation or regulations.”

The SEC filing comes as Rivian prepares a valuation of US$50b to US$55 billion (A$67b to A$73b) initial public offering (IPO) to list on the New York Stock Exchange.

Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe in front of EDV for Amazon Prime

Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe in front of EDV for Amazon Prime

Big tech platform Amazon raised its stake in Rivian Automotive to 20 per cent last week as it receives around 10,000 of its Rivian Electric Delivery Van (EDV) for online deliveries by next year, reaching to 100,000 by 2030 in the USA.

Additionally, Rivian intends to offer more vehicle variants in a “variety of form factors, price points, use cases, and geographies” for consumer and commercial buyers in the “next several years”, launching subscription services to access vehicle features through over-the-air software updates, and building on the energy charging, conversion and storage capabilities of EVs.

That’s in addition to building its Tesla-rivalling 200kW DC fast-charging stations dubbed Rivian Adventure Network (RAN) and 11.5kW AC charging Rivian Waypoints across the USA and Canada.

White Rivian R1S with frunk open in camp

If and when Rivian does launch Down Under, it’ll go head-to-head with Jeep as it pushes towards electrification, not to mention the likes of the Ford F-150 Lightning, Tesla Cybertruck, GMC Hummer EV, all-electric LDV T90, and more. It’s worth noting that most of these adventure-ready EVs aren’t slated for Australia.

In its home country, the R1T ute currently starts at US$67,500 (A$90,684) with a ‘large pack’ as standard, offering 314 miles (505km) of range on the strict EPA regime, with a plethora of colours, wheels, and outdoor accessories like a camp kitchen using its unique open ‘Gear Tunnel Shuttle’ passthrough.

Meanwhile, its R1S SUV counterpart starts at US$70,000 (A$94,042) with 316 miles (508km) of EPA battery range and the option of seven seats at no extra cost.

Both models feature vegan leather seats, a power operated tailgate and frunk, built-in air compressor, Rivian Driver+ active safety technologies, a 15.6-inch proprietary horizontal infotainment system, and more.

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Henry Man

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Henry Man is a motoring journalist passionate about the intersection of technology and transportation, with a focus on electric vehicles.

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