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Rivian Is Opening Its Charging Network to Other Brands

By
Laurance Yap
May 21, 2024
4
min
Rivian doesn’t just make electric trucks. It also has a proprietary charging network focused on providing charging around popular outdoor adventure locations. Starting in late 2024, the company will be upgrading its network with new high-speed chargers – and opening access to drivers of other brands of EVs.
two cars charging at Rivian charging stations
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Rivian: A Charging Network for Adventures

Rivian, the U.S.-based EV startup that makes the very well-reviewed R1T pickup and R1S SUV, and is about to launch the more compact R2 crossover, isn’t just a maker of electric adventure vehicles. Like Tesla, Rivian has also built a charging network. Right now, the company has over 400 Level 3 chargers at close to 70 locations across the U.S. – with a focus on destinations attractive for outdoor enthusiasts.

High Speed Charging for All Brands

Until now, the Rivian Adventure Network, as it’s called, has only been open to drivers of Rivian vehicles. But, just like Tesla has started to open up access to its chargers to drivers of other EV brands, Rivian is set to make Adventure Network chargers accessible to all EV drivers – and will do so with a next-generation charger that promises very high charging speeds and impressive reliability.

In part, Rivian is providing access to other EV drivers because doing so allows the company to access funds available from the U.S. federal government to expand public charging infrastructure. The government’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program, as well as many state and utility programs, are supporting a rapid expansion of EV charging infrastructure across the country.

Rivian charging station

Latest Generation Charging Experience

What will make Rivian’s charging locations special? In addition to their locations proximal to adventuresome destinations, they will feature the latest generation of Rivian’s charging hardware. Built in the same Normal, Illinois factory as the company’s electric pickups and SUVs, Rivian says that the new chargers will also be able to work seamlessly with both 400- and 800-volt charging systems on the latest EVs to maximize charging speeds.

In addition to fast charging, Rivian says it’s working hard to make the charging experience more user-friendly. For instance, they have a large, bright display with clear instructions, and the ability to tap-to-pay with a credit card, meaning you won’t need to download an app or create an account to pay for charging (Rivian vehicles can simply plug in and start charging). Most charging locations are “trailer-friendly,” making it easy for EVs that are towing trailers to access the chargers. And the new chargers are taller than conventional chargers, with a longer cable – which means they can accommodate a wide range of different vehicle sizes and charging port locations.

Will Rivian Chargers Use the Tesla Port?

Interestingly, as the new chargers begin to roll out in 2024, they will still use the CCS (combined charging system) port that’s currently used on most non-Tesla electric cars – even though almost every manufacturer selling EVs in North America has committed to switching to the Tesla-led NACS charging standard in 2025. Vehicles with a Tesla-style port will be able to access the new chargers with an adapter, and Rivian says that the new chargers will add NACS ports with future hardware updates.

“Rivian exists to address two specific needs, the electrification of our transportation system and supporting the transition of our power grid to carbon-free energy sources,” said Paul Frey, Rivian’s VP of battery, charging, and adventure products. “By broadening access to our Rivian Adventure Network—powered by 100% renewable energy—we are supporting both of these critical goals while also encouraging more people to embark on their next adventure in an EV.”

First New Stations Opening Late 2024

The first new Rivian Adventure Network chargers are set to open later in 2024, with availability for other brands to charge rolling out around the same time period. Rivian claims that its chargers have an industry-leading 98 percent uptime, which should provide reassurance for those wanting to take their EVs on big adventures that they’ll be able to get the charge they need at the destinations they want.

Front view of a Tesla Model 3 driving through canyon roads

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