Rivian's EV Fast Charger Network Will Open To Rival Electric Cars

There's no denying that electric cars have gradually gotten better over the past few years. Most modern EVs easily rival their fossil fuel-powered counterparts in terms of overall features and capabilities. Rapid advancements in battery technology have also meant that range anxiety — the fear of ending up in an EV with a discharged battery — has been reduced to a great extent. However, most EVs still suffer from a massive problem: the lack of a widespread, manufacturer-agnostic charging network. 

While Tesla has attempted to solve this problem by opening up its extensive charging network to non-Tesla vehicles, there is still a massive shortage of reliable EV charging outlets in the United States. It is in these circumstances that one of Tesla's rivals, Rivian, has indicated that it intends to follow in Tesla's footsteps and open up its charging network to EVs from rival brands. According to Automotive News, Rivian will set up hundreds of new charging stations across the U.S. in the next couple of years. 

These new charging spots will join the company's existing network of 30 fast charging stations, all of which come equipped with the company's own DC chargers. While these charging stations are currently equipped to only charge Rivian's own EVs, they will eventually be opened up to a wider variety of EVs — including models from competing brands. The report also quotes Rivian's CEO RJ Scaringe, who has indicated that the company did not have a fixed timeline for opening up its charging network. However, in a separate interview, Rivian's CFO Claire McDonough revealed that this could happen as early as 2024.

Rivian wants 600 new charging stations by 2025

Rivian has already confirmed that its short-term goal is to set up more than 3,500 DC fast chargers at 600 stations across North America within the next two years. Rivian's existing DC fast chargers are currently capable of delivering more than 200 kW of energy and have the potential to go up to 300 kW in the future. On Rivian's current models — the R1T pickup truck and the R1S crossover — these chargers can add more than 140 miles of range with a short 20-minute charge.

Besides building a comprehensive, well-spread-out DC fast charging network, Rivian is also working on creating a network of level 2 chargers which will be slower than the main ones. These chargers — which Rivian refers to as Waypoint chargers — will be mostly positioned at locations where EV users typically spend longer durations, such as hotel parking lots where the cars may be left plugged in overnight.

There is no denying that Rivian's fast charging network — even post-expansion — will be significantly smaller than that of Tesla. However, third-party EVs will find it easier to hook up to Rivian's chargers, given that the company uses an industry-standard charging plug, unlike Tesla, which only recently made its plug an open standard.