After a patience testing two and a half year wait, I finally took delivery of my El Cap R1S this week. Here’s the run down:
I knew that at some point I would live in Colorado - I lived on the East Coast my whole life and was there in Oct 2020 when I ordered the R1S - and that an electric vehicle would not suffer power loss from thin air in the mountains. Well, I moved to the Colorado Rockies last year and my theory, at least my experience driving from Denver to the Vail Valley this week, proved to be spot on.
I received a notification in 2021 that I could expect delivery in Q1 2022. That was a fiction. I then received another notification in late 2022 that my delivery window was Jan/Feb 2023. Then those hopes were dashed in early January 2023 when they updated my delivery window to May/June 2023. The change had nothing to do with my build - I confirmed all of my original selections. Finally, in the last week of April 2023, I received an email that my vehicle was ready for delivery which, in Rivian speak, apparently means that it is on a train to Denver for two weeks and then they’ll will follow up in a couple weeks about actual delivery. In the interim, I followed all of my “steps” for the purchase and simply awaited the delivery appointment email which came last week. Side note: I was able to secure financing at 3.74% through United States Senate Federal Credit Union (ussfcu.org). Rivian cannot touch that rate so don’t settle just because it’s easy. I spent $60 to join an organization that allowed me to join USSFCU and will save over $5k in interest over the next five years. $60 well spent.
I arrived for my 11am appointment in Denver about an hour early. The staff quickly acknowledged me and confirmed my appointment. They let me know they would try and start the delivery process a little sooner than my appointment time which was a kind offer but not one that I requested. They were very professional. Good start. A gentleman sat down with me around 10:40 and we signed some basic paperwork - odometer statement, signature affidavit, registration info, etc. That process took about 5 minutes. Then another gentleman took me outside to see my new R1S. The first thing that he said to me was that my two key cards were not working so he had me create a repair ticket in the Rivian App as soon as we sat in the car. This would never happen with an Audi or other major vehicle manufacturer but this is a computer on wheels and excrement happens. My phone gives me access to the vehicle and allows it to move as does the key fob. They’ll get the cards working eventually but this should not happen upon delivery.
I ordered an El Cap Adventure Package, dark vegan leather and wood interior, with the 22” black road wheels. The vehicle looked beautiful in person though I will be deleting the silver colored upper trim in favor of glossy black to match the roof line color. I paid special attention to the paint as I had read other owners mention less than acceptable paint, fit and finish elements on their new vehicles. My paint looked great; the fit of several trim pieces such as wheel well trim is marginal with some slight separation between the body panels and the edge of the trim piece(s). I can live with it. The interior was likewise beautiful though I was not happy that the plastic seat trim on the driver’s side down by the seat adjustment was separated from its partner piece. I pressed them back together which closed the gap. Again, annoying for a brand new $80k vehicle but not anything that will cause me not to take delivery. The Rivian staff member guided me through various vehicle functions which was very helpful. I had warned him that I looked forward to discovering a lot of the functions on my own by surfing around the main display menu so he tailored his demo to a more minimalist effort. Then I hit the road for the 2hr drive from Denver to the mountains.
The drive home was uneventful. The R1S flew up the various mountain passes with ease and I enjoyed the ease of descending the other side of the passes with the regenerative braking doing the work of slowing me down while adding a few miles to my energy meter. I tried the “Conserve” mode - front two motors only - for a bit and found that the handling was a little less steady than the rock solid “All Purpose” mode which employs all four motors. The suspension made the ride very comfortable. I started the journey home with 305 miles of range and arrived home with 115 miles of range for a 124 mile trip. I drove at 70-75 most of the way, climbing three significant mountain passes so I was not at all displeased with the power usage. Speaking of power, press the pedal and this sucker MOVES! I had a chipped Audi RS7 with 725 hp which was the quickest car I ever drove…until now. The butt dyno on the R1S measures off the scale. Passing is not an issue. Getting on the highway is an exercise in smile maintenance. Blowing off the line and leaving anyone next to you in your wake is the norm. This truck is a beast.
I ordered the Rivian home charger and it arrived about three weeks before my delivery date. I hired an electrician to to do the install but was away for the week leading up to vehicle delivery which is when when he installed the charger. When I could not connect the charger to my phone or the vehicle, I searched the net and read about various WiFi connectivity issues and a braided black cable that is often overlooked by installers. I opened the charger, saw that the black braided cable was not connected to the front panel, plugged it in, reassembled the charger, and every worked perfectly. The 48 amp setting delivers about 22 miles of range per hour. I have my charging set at 70% at the recommendation of my Rivian delivery rep.
I look forward to getting a full Xpel wrap, the silver trim delete, and maybe some debadging (door side Rivian letters are a bit much). I also ordered a canvasback liner for the cargo area. All in all, it’s been a good two days of ownership.
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