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Rivian EV Owner Stunned By $42,000 Repair Bill For Minor Collision

Limited repair options and advanced technology components contribute to steep costs.

When a vehicle experiences a breakdown or sustains damage, it’s typically expected that the repair costs will be significant. However, one Rivian Automotive Inc (NASDAQ: RIVN) EV owner was astounded by the steep bill he received for a minor fender bender.

A Rivian R1T Truck and R1S SUV is parked outside the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 08, 2022, in Sun Valley, Idaho. The world’s most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, and technology will converge at the Sun Valley Resort this week for the exclusive conference. (KEVIN DIETSCH/GETTY IMAGES) 

According to a report by The New York Times, a Rivian owner shared that his R1T electric pickup truck incurred a repair bill of approximately $42,000 after he was involved in a collision at a stoplight earlier this year.

Chris Apfelstadt, the Rivian owner, shared his surprise at the “shocking number,” acknowledging that he had anticipated the repair costs to be substantial.

Initially, the incident, which took place in February in Columbus, Ohio, was believed to be relatively minor. The other driver’s insurance company offered approximately $1,600 in compensation.

However, after taking the electric vehicle to a certified repair shop specializing in Rivian products, Apfelstadt discovered that the cost was $42,000, roughly half the truck’s selling price. 

“I expected it to be expensive. But it was still a shocking number,” said Apfelstadt in his interview with The New York Times.

The cost was related to a damaged sleek panel that extended from the truck’s rear to the front roof pillars. Repairing and repainting it reportedly set off a cascade of pricey work, including removing the interior ceiling material, otherwise known as the headliner, and front windshield. 

The high cost of Apfelstadt’s repair was attributed to the scarcity of repair facilities for the Rivian R1T and the associated expenses involved in fixing EVs equipped with advanced technology components. 

Like Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), Rivian follows a non-dealer approach, resulting in limited repair options. The New York Times reported that the company had only certified around 200 repair shops across North America, leaving Apfelstadt with only three options in Ohio. Additionally, Rivian operates just 34 service centers of its own.

Rivian’s vice president of service operations, Noe Mejia, told The New York Times that, while the company’s small scale makes it easier to work closer with customers and provide better service, Rivian is still newer to the market compared to other EV makers.

Although automotive experts commonly acknowledge that repairing EVs tends to be more expensive than gasoline vehicles, a comprehensive examination of claims and repair data reveals that the costs of repairing EVs are not significantly higher than those of gasoline cars with similar age and price. In fact, the newspaper reported that the repair costs for EVs can even be lower in some instances. 

Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by and

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