The victim of this massive repair bill is Chris Apfelstadt, a landscaper from Columbus, Ohio. He recounted the incident in a post on Facebook group "Rivian Electric Vehicles Discussion" for fans of electric car company Rivian's EVs. (Related: EV owners complain about "logistical nightmare" caused by lack of charging stations.)
According to Apfelstadt, in early February his R1T was rear-ended at a "relatively low speed," low enough that no airbags or alarms went off in his vehicle, but clearly fast enough to cause significant damage.
Pictures of the incident he shared on social media show that the accident only caused minor damage to the rear bumper of his pickup – although the damage to the hood and front bumper of the sedan that hit Apfelstadt's car look more significant.
Apfelstadt ended up waiting over two months before repairs could finally be done on his vehicle. The insurance company of the driver that rear-ended him assessed that the damage to the other vehicle would cost $1,600 and wrote him a check for that amount. However, he later found out that he would be spending so much more just to repair his own car.
To get his R1T repaired, Apfelstadt contacted Rivian, who told him to go to one of the three certified body shops in Ohio for Rivian vehicles.
The body shop Apfelstadt went to was supposedly very thorough and meticulous about the whole repair process, documenting each step with photographs. But they also for some reason disassembled most of the R1T's rear section, including the rear window. This additional work on the R1T ended up costing Apfelstadt over $42,000. Fortunately for Apfelstadt, the at-fault driver's insurance covered the entire repair bill.
"They did an incredible job and my R1T looks as nice as the day it was shipped," commented Apfelstadt. "I have heard that Rivian made some concessions in the repairability in order to keep the aesthetics a certain way. All I know is that this is a very expensive vehicle to fix!"
$42,000 repair for a dented rear bumper on a Rivian R1T?
Also, something doesn't add up here, why did they remove the rear glass? pic.twitter.com/VJal1jwjtO
— 13rendan88 ?? (@13rendan88) May 2, 2023
Many of the commenters in the group questioned why the repair bill cost over $42,000, suggesting that something fishy might be going on.
"This is 100 percent insurance fraud on behalf of this authorized repair facility," commented one person. "Clearly they are taking advantage of the fact this is an extremely new platform to justify egregious costs. Unless it takes 300 hours to remove the bed and rear glass – for no reason at all it would seem – and reassemble, how in the world is this a $42,000 repair? I've seen [Lamborghini] Aventadors have entire rear carbon sections repaired and repainted for less than that."
"We're buying electric cars for sustainability reasons," said Matthew Avery of Thatcham Research, an automotive risk intelligence company. "But an EV isn't very sustainable if you've got to throw the battery away after a minor collision."
In an email to Just The News, Apfelstadt stated that he did not buy the Rivian "for any political or environmental motive," rather he "simply liked the brand and loved the look of the truck."
However, he pointed out that potential EV owners "probably should not buy an EV or even a new ICE [internal combustion engine] car" if they can't afford the repair costs. This illustrates the broader concern that electric vehicles, despite being touted as supposedly friendlier to people with smaller budgets, could surprise owners with painful hidden costs.
Learn more about the deficiencies of electric vehicles at FlyingCars.news.
Watch this video from TFL Truck showing how the publication conducted a range test showing how the battery-powered Rivian R1T failed to tow a 2,000-lb trailer farther than a regular internal combustion engine Toyota Tundra.