A Rivian owner shared that his R1T electric pickup truck incurred approximately $42,000 in repair costs after a collision at a stoplight earlier this year. According to a report from The New York Times, Chris Apfelstadt expressed his astonishment at the unexpectedly high amount, stating that while he anticipated the repair wouldn’t be inexpensive, the final figure was shocking.
The incident occurred in February in Columbus, Ohio, and initially appeared to be a minor accident, as the other driver’s insurance offered compensation of around $1,600. However, once the electric vehicle was taken to a repair shop authorized to work with Rivian products, the cost skyrocketed to $42,000, as detailed in the Times report.
This repair expense accounted for over half of the vehicle’s starting price. The exorbitant price tag can be attributed to the collision impacting a panel extending from the back of the truck to the front roof pillars, necessitating the removal of the ceiling and front windshield for panel restoration, as outlined by the Times.
Challenges Faced by Rivian R1T Owners: High Repair Costs and Limited Service Centers
The high cost associated with repairing Rivian R1T vehicles was attributed to the scarcity of repair shops specifically equipped to handle the model and the expenses involved in fixing electric vehicles (EVs) that rely on advanced technological components. Similar to Tesla, Rivian does not operate through dealerships. According to the New York Times, the company has certified approximately 200 repair shops across North America, with only three available options in Ohio. Additionally, Rivian possesses only 34 of its service centers.
A spokesperson for Rivian informed Insider that the repair cost exceeded what would typically be expected for an average customer due to the nature of the repair, the required parts, and labor. They assured that this specific case would be considered as the company continues its efforts to improve product quality and service.
Noe Mejia, Rivian’s vice president of service operations, acknowledged to the Times that the company’s smaller size allows for closer interaction with customers and better service but also poses a challenge as a newer player in the market.
While routine maintenance for electric cars is generally less expensive, repairs and insurance can be pricier than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. A study by CCC Intelligent Solutions revealed that EV repairs, on average, cost more than repairs for combustion-engine cars. Another report cited by the Times, conducted by Mitchell, found that electric vehicle repairs were approximately $2,400 more expensive than repairs for conventional vehicles last year.
The Potential for Decreasing Insurance Costs with Wider EV Adoption
According to a previous report by Insider’s Alexa St. John, it was mentioned that insuring electric vehicles (EVs) can be more expensive. For instance, the average national cost of car insurance is around $2,148 per year, while guaranteeing a Tesla Model S costs approximately $4,066, as stated in the Insider report.
However, these higher costs may not last long. As more individuals and companies switch to all-electric cars, the cost of insuring and repairing EVs is expected to decrease.
Apfelstadt is not the first Rivian owner to express concerns about their electric pickup truck. Insider’s Nora Naughton previously reported a case where a Rivian customer, who had patiently waited for three years to receive his R1S, experienced a breakdown just a few days after taking it home.
Insider’s Alexa St. John’s report highlighted that electric vehicles (EVs) are more expensive to insure than traditional gasoline-powered cars. For example, the average cost of car insurance across the country is about $2,148 per year. However, for a Tesla Model S, the insurance cost can increase to around $4,066 annually, indicating a significant difference.
Despite these higher insurance costs, there’s hope for EV owners. As more people and companies adopt electric cars, the overall insurance and repair costs are expected to decrease. This trend is often seen when new technologies become more mainstream, and the same is anticipated for EVs.