Lmirafuente

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Rivian Adventure Network: electric pickup maker hires Tesla staff to build charging network

https://electrek.co/2020/06/01/rivi...electric-pickup-tesla-staff-charging-network/

June 1, 2020

The charging experience is really important for the success of electric vehicles and automakers have widely different approaches. Rivian, an electric pickup truck startup, is betting on its own network and it is hiring from the leader, Tesla, to build it out.

One of Tesla’s greatest advantages over other automakers in the electric revolution is the fact that it has much greater control over the charging experience than other companies.

While most of the charging happens at home, in order to replace gasoline vehicles, electric automakers need a seamless charging experience on the road to enable long-distance travel.

Most automakers rely on third-party charging networks to provide the charging experience, but early on, Tesla decided to build its own charging network and control the experience with the Supercharger network.

Rivian is taking a similar approach.

Electrek has learned from sources familiar with the matter that the automaker is working on the ‘Rivian Adventure Network’ and it is hiring people who worked on Tesla’s Supercharger network.

In March, Rivian hired Carrington Bradley as Senior Manager of Charging Deployment.

Before joining Rivian, Bradley had been working at Tesla for almost 7 years and most recently, he was managing charging programs at the company.

He wrote about his responsibilities and accomplishments at Tesla on LinkedIn:

“Built and managed a national team of 11 project managers to design, permit, and build electric vehicle Supercharger stations. Under my leadership, the team scaled from 50 to 150 completed sites per year. Globally, the Supercharger network is the largest direct current fast charging network in the world, covering over 1,900 sites and 17,000 parking stalls in 37 countries.”
Around the same time, Rivian also hired Sara Eslinger as ‘Sr. Product Manager, Charging Infrastructure at Rivian’.

Eslinger was hired away from Lyft where she was leading electric vehicle deployment. Prior to working for Lyft, she worked for more than 6 years at Tesla in charging infrastructure.

Rivian has also hired Kit Ahuja as Director of Rivian Adventure Network and he formerly was a manager at Tesla. He more recently worked at Enel X, which is also in the EV charging business.

The automaker has previously mentioned its ambition to build its own charging network:

“We will be building some of our own charging infrastructure, including many of the outdoor destinations for which our vehicles are designed.”
But we now learn some additional details.

For the “adventure” aspect of the network, Rivian will first target off-roading pit-stops, national parks, and RV parks.

When Rivian first unveiled the R1T electric pickup, they were talking about a charge rate of up to 160 kW at fast-charging stations and an 11-kW onboard charger for level 2 charging.

The prototype was equipped with a CCS charge port.

We now learn from sources that Rivian is aiming for its DC charging stations to deliver up to 200 kW and each charger can charge two vehicles at once.

Since Rivian owners will have access to all third-Party networks with CCS chargers, the automaker is going to focus on remote locations to close the gap and enable adventures in the wild.

For example, we are told that the company is aiming for one of its first Rivian-branded charging stations to be located in Moab, Utah.

The first sites are supposed to come online next year.

Electrek’s Take
This is awesome news.

I love to hear that Rivian is moving forward with its own charging network and that they are hiring from Tesla to make it happen.

I’ve been saying for a while but when it comes to charging, automakers should just copy Tesla’s approach.

Tesla will be fine. While I’m sure Tesla will miss them, the Supercharger network will keep growing without those employees. I think their experience building out the Supercharger network is probably much more valuable at Rivian right now.

I could see Rivian doing very well with just a few hundreds well located charging stations for adventures across North America and relying on third-party networks, who will have grown significantly by that time, for the rest.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
 
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Rob P

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In Washington State I hope that they could bracket North Cascades NP Marblemount/Mazama and possibly Sunrise and Paradise @ Mt Rainier . Mazama in particular because you access Pasayten wilderness from there
 
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Lil'O Annie

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Washington state desperately needs DC chargers in the North Cascades, Okanogan & Colville national forest areas. There are NO DC chargers of any kind these areas with lots of rough national forest roads and great places to go. It's a charger desert until you reach the Canadian border, which is lined with DC charger locations, because the Canadians understand the value of EVs.
 

Mjhirsch78

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Olympic National Park would be nice too. While we’re at it: let’s hit Glacier and Teddy Roosevelt parks also. Driving northern U.S. is a bit rough for EVs right now.
 

aAlpine

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Washington state desperately needs DC chargers in the North Cascades, Okanogan & Colville national forest areas. There are NO DC chargers of any kind these areas with lots of rough national forest roads and great places to go. It's a charger desert until you reach the Canadian border, which is lined with DC charger locations, because the Canadians understand the value of EVs.
BC Hydro has done an amazing job of putting a large number of (mostly free I think) DCFC throughout the province. I'm a little disappointed that they're no faster than 50 kW, but I imagine anything more was prohibitively expensive and overkill when they started the project (seems like many years ago). Petro Canada's 350kW trans-Canada network seems amazing, completely selling me on the ability to do road trips to the interior etc. without issue in a Rivian.


Regarding the Rivian Adventure Network, here's RJ talking more about it back in Feb:
This seems like a very smart and focused way for the company to fill in charging network gaps that otherwise might not happen until much later in the EV revolution. Hopefully they don't forget about a few stations up here in Canada too :)
 

bsaik

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I’m really excited about this news. The focus on what Tesla would call “destination charging” is key. Fast charging on route is essential for long trips, but if you are camping or staying at a condo or hotel and arrive with only 10% charge it would be a deal breaker for me to have figure out a charging solution that takes hours and hours. Having access to fast charging near my destination playground would mean I could make a run and charge up in an hour in between other activities and be ready for adventure or the ride home.

While we are advocating for our favorite spot, Rivian please look at Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes in California for future Rivian Adventure Network locations! :)
 

ajdelange

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First off: great that Rivian's looong silence on this is evidently coming to an end.

Keep in mind that what Tesla calls a destination charger is a level 2 charger capable of 11.5 kW in most of their cars and also capable of that level for a Rivian vehicle. One or two destination chargers at a resort, park, hotel etc. is fine if there are only one or 2 people who need to charge because one must be connected to the charger for hours. One or 2 DC chargers, OTOH, can serve dozens of customers because the connection time in only minutes. All the material here definitely suggests that these chargers are going to be DC chargers. Also note that any 50A receptacle is a destination charger as the vehicle will come with portable EVSE capable of connecting to it.
 
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Billyk24

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This is also a shot across the Cybertruck's funk as this vehicle may not be able to travel to remote areas without adequate charging capabilities.
 

bsaik

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First off: great that Rivian's looong silence on this is evidently coming to an end.

Keep in mind that what Tesla calls a destination charger is a level 2 charger capable of 11.5 kW in most of their cars and also capable of that level for a Rivian vehicle. One or two destination chargers at a resort, park, hotel etc. is fine if there are only one or 2 people who need to charge because one must be connected to the charger for hours. One or 2 DC chargers, OTOH, cn serve dozens of customers because the connection time in only minutes. All the material here definitely suggests that these chargers are going to be DC chargers. Also note that any 50A receptacle is a destination charger as the vehicle will come with portable EVSE capable of connecting to it.
Yep - Sorry for not being clear. But that's my point. In my experience I usually stay at places where I cannot be assured of having access to anything other than an 110V maybe 20A outlet. Or I'm camping at a campground or backpacking in from a trailhead where there is no power. Having access to a few fast DC chargers would allow me to arrive at my destination with a 10% charge without worry of how I'll charge back up for the trip home. We just need a few at key locations. I should have been more clear that Tesla's focus on their "destination charging" is not really that helpful because it only services a few customers a day.
 
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Lmirafuente

Lmirafuente

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MTrivianR1T

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I’m delighted to see Rivian looking at remote locations for fast charging stations. Glacier National Park both east and west sides are a must along with Yellowstone Park. But don’t forget the hunters and fishermen that love Montana’s great areas on Hwy 2 along the northern tier of the state and through the remote middle where the fishing and hunting are best.

Bring it on!
 

Moonjock

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I hope they put some in AK.
 

jacobh

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The charging network for Rivian was something I was super curious about. For an EV that gets 700km of range it would have been really inconvenient for other EV drivers to be waiting at generic CCS charging stations while the R1T/R1S recharges.
Would love to see where they plan on placing the network. One in Banff Alberta Canada would be great!
 

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