Rivian’s first East Coast showroom opened to the public in New York City Friday. The showrooms, which the EV maker refers to as “spaces,” seek to shake up the stale image of a traditional car dealership while also separating Rivian from the pack in an increasingly competitive market.
The spaces are intended to be family friendly, where potential or existing customers can interact with or test drive Rivian vehicles, speak to specialists and even plan a trip. Trip planning is core to the experience because Rivian hopes to teach EV-curious buyers how to overcome charging anxiety and navigate ownership for the first time, explained Denise Cherry, Rivian's senior director of facilities design and retail development.
“We understand that a lot of our customers are first time EV owners and so there is some range anxiety associated with that. So we are absolutely here to help you plan and then understand how you get to that destination, and how you enjoy that space once you’re there,” Cherry told Cheddar News.
On display at the New York City space are Rivian’s flagship R1S and R1T models. The R1S is a three-row electric SUV with off-road capability and an EPA-estimated range of up to 321 miles. The base model starts at $78,000. The R1T, meanwhile, is an electric pickup truck starting at just under $73,000 with an EPA-estimated range of up to 328 miles.
Once a Wall Street darling, Rivian has struggled amid increased competition in the EV space, supply chain issues and inflation. In 2022, the company produced just over 24,000 vehicles and lost $6.8 billion, The New York Times reported. But the startup aims to double its output in 2023.
As for its spaces, Rivian has several other locations planned. California sites will include Groveland, the “Gateway to Yosemite,” and Laguna Beach, where the space will occupy a former movie theater. It also has a 10,000 sq ft indoor and outdoor space planned for Austin, Texas. According to Cherry, the company hopes to have 10 spaces open by the close of the year with more to come, based on customer demand.
Updated with additional details.