Service center

See Inside Rivian’s Service Center in Chicago’s Kinzie Industrial Corridor

The Chicago service center at 2033 W. Walnut St. was previously used by Standard Equipment, an environmental equipment company, for more than half a century. The space is in Kinzie’s Industrial Corridor, a neighboring enclave of the West Loop. The area was originally zoned primarily for industry and manufacturing.

The service center offers demos for pre-order customers and oversees vehicle deliveries, and its technicians can service vehicles on-site. On Friday, the center arranged deliveries from the location to Wisconsin and Valparaiso, Ind.

The Chicago service center is operating at an inflection point for Illinois drivers. Gasoline prices in the state have skyrocketed, averaging $5.56 a gallon for regular unleaded at one point, according to AAA.

In addition to its R1T and R1S models, Rivian also manufactures a fleet of electric delivery vans for Amazon. The e-commerce juggernaut has a roughly 18% stake in the company.

Starting next month, Illinois will offer $4,000 rebates to electric vehicle buyers. But some electric vehicles come at a high cost, leaving some prices off the market, especially as rising interest rates and inflation ripple through the economy. The R1T, the cheapest Rivian model, starts at $67,500. Andrew Schamaun, Chicago’s director of delivery and mobile operations, said people who stopped by the center asked about the upcoming discount. He thinks this is helping to drive more interest in general electric vehicle ownership.

The manufacturer also had challenges. Some customers have experienced long wait times since pre-ordering. Rivian cited supply chain issues with semiconductors and other parts as contributors to production delays.

Unpredictable wait times haven’t deterred people from wanting a Rivian EV. The company had 90,000 pre-orders for its R1T and R1S in March, according to a spokeswoman.

On a recent ride, a Rivian field specialist expertly weaved a granite-colored R1T through the city streets of Chicago. The electric truck boasts more power than a Lamborghini, which one would think is better suited to race tracks and places like the Indiana Dunes. But it proved just as useful – and fun – for navigating rutted city streets and narrow inner-city alleys thanks to its adjustable air suspension. The function raises and lowers the height of the vehicle to meet various driving conditions. The truck also includes other high performance features, such as its ability to go from zero to 60 mph in around 3 seconds.

The Chicago Service Center team is actively recruiting employees. Schamaun sensed a lot of excitement from the audience as the center arrived. Recently, a carrier delivering a fleet of trucks caught the attention of firefighters in the area. The group asked to take a look. “We’re grateful that people want to come here and check it out,” Schauman said.

While people can visit service centers, Rivian, like Tesla, does not follow the traditional car dealership model. There are no showrooms, and Rivian follows a direct-to-consumer model. Customers select their vehicles online and service center representatives often visit customers for service pickups, scheduled demos and deliveries. As Conor Springmire, a member of Rivian’s new market launch team, notes, it’s about “ease of access for the consumer.”