The siren song of the electric vehicle is just too hard for some folks to ignore. Save the planet! No more gas and oil! Look how cool they are and how good of a person I am, saving the environment and what not. Hell, maybe even Greta Thunberg will give you a shout-out!
That is, until the reality of the situation hits you over the head, or in the wallet as is often the case. Any new technology is going to be riddled with problems. Hell, much old technology is riddled with problems. However, recently after a three-year wait, one poor consumer excitedly received his fancy new electric SUV, only to have it give ups the ghost days later to the tune of around $2100 dollars. Shocking. Check this out
Of all the non-Tesla electric vehicle startups that have emerged over the past decade, few have garnered as much attention — or burned through as much investor cash — as Rivian, a maker of high-performance EV trucks.
The demand for Rivians is such that the waitlist has been insane. As noted in September by FindMyElectric.com, a website for buying and selling used electric vehicles, production last year was just under 25,000 vehicles — and there were still over 100,000 reservations for the expensive off-roaders, with the R1T truck starting at $73,000 and the R1S SUV starting at $78,000.
This just proves to underscore what most people already know; electric vehicles are the playthings of the well-to-do. Joe bad-o-donuts that puts in his forty down at the factory driving a forklift is barely able to keep his beater on the road, no less afford a super expensive electric toy. Good thing Joe didn’t go all in on a Rivian.
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Don't get stuck in snow! https://t.co/eCshJ77fte
— The Patriot Hammer (@patriot_hammer) March 25, 2023
Nevertheless, 24-year-old Chase Merrill had enough in the bank to put a deposit down on an R1S three years ago, according to Insider. While Merrill was skeptical about making the switch to an EV, given the fact he lives in an isolated area of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, family members who own EVs urged him to make the change.
He finally got the vehicle March 10, after a three year-wait, according to Insider. Three days later, the SUV became an electric brick — with a non-functioning motor and wheels that wouldn’t turn. And he was stuck with a $2,100 repair bill.
If I am being honest, I have had a couple of vehicles with non-functioning motors and wheels that wouldn’t turn, but I had usually paid $2100 dollars for them to start with.
Another issue with electric vehicles of course is the expense and expertise to fix them. The aforementioned bag-o-donuts simply will not be able to tinker with his electric pipe dream to keep it on the road. Any subsequent breakdowns that aren’t warranty covered, and there will be many, will simply come out of the pocket of the consumer.
“I hit about 2 ½-feet of snow and it just stopped right there,” Merrill told Insider. “I had seen all the Rivian marketing campaigns with the cars just eating through the snow so it was kind of like, ‘man this is disappointing.’”
As someone who lives in a remote area of the Adirondacks, Merrill told Insider he’s been able to get cars out of snow banks before. He was able to get another motorist to help pull him out. This should have gone smoothly.
Anyone who’s been in this situation before knows what you do, even if you’re just in a Volkswagen Golf. As you’re being pulled out, you sit in the driver’s seat, rocking the car back and forth, trying to get some traction. Merrill wasn’t buckled in at the time, nor did he need to be: He wasn’t exactly at risk for a high-speed collision stuck in a snow bank, after all.
The subsequent combination of factors caused the truck to engage a safety feature, completely disabling the vehicle. It ended up on the flat-bed of a tow truck.
So fine, a simple mistake that triggered an unusual safety feature. No problems, right? Wrong. Big problem.
“Merrill said he later learned that a simple reset may have resolved the issue that bricked his car, without requiring a service visit. But that solution did not come up in his initial call with Rivian’s customer service, he said.
“A Rivian representative ultimately called to apologize to Merrill and offered to pay for the repairs, but the company refused to pay the $2,100 transportation fee, he said. After Insider called Rivian this week to ask about Merrill’s experience, a Rivian representative called Merrill and offered to cover the $2,100 bill.”
“The attitude the whole time from customer service was that a Rivian owner should be able to handle this, no problem,” Merrill told Insider. “They just think this should be nothing for me and it’s not nothing.”
“The car is super impressive and I want the company to do well,” Merrill told Insider. “I think I’m just not the right person to be an early adopter.”
Instead, he now says he’s looking at a trade for an internal-combustion truck, like the Toyota Tacoma.
Turns out that gasoline powered vehicles work just fine! What the consumer expected and what he got were two very different experiences. Sadly, it won’t be the last instance of an unwary consumer getting the high-hard-one from a startup electric vehicle company, or the runaround from one of the Big Three automakers. Buckle up folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride, that is if your EV will run.
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