A Rivian owner recently discovered the financial impact of even a minor collision on an electric vehicle, highlighting the high repair costs. Chris Apfelstadt, the owner of a Rivian R1T, revealed in May the staggering expense of repairing his truck after a rear-end accident in February. The repair bill amounted to a jaw-dropping $42,000, as The Drive, an automotive news website, reported.
Apfelstadt was astonished at the substantial figure, stating, “I expected it to be expensive, but it was still shocking,” as The New York Times quoted. With the repair expenses and the rental car used during the interim, Apfelstadt’s total expenditure came perilously close to exhausting the $50,000 insurance payout limit of the other driver, according to The Drive.
The Times article highlighted the significant repair costs associated with electric vehicles as a contributing factor to the 36 percent increase in the average cost of vehicle repairs, regardless of whether they are gas-powered or electric, since 2018. This surge in repair costs has also led to a 17 percent rise in insurance premiums during the twelve months ending in May.
Summarizing the state of the repair industry, The Times noted that vehicles, including many electric models, have become so intricately designed and luxurious that seemingly simple repairs can incur a substantial financial burden.
Ryan Mandell, the director of claims performance for Mitchell, provides information to insurance companies and auto repair businesses, explained that the advanced digital architecture in modern vehicles often results in disruptions beyond the immediate impact point. Mandell stated that restoring a car to its pre-loss condition has become increasingly complex, a challenge unlike any other in history.
According to The Times, Rivian, the manufacturer of Apfelstadt’s vehicle, maintains a limited repair network of approximately 200 shops, in contrast to Ford’s expansive network of 2,800 dealerships.
Upon close investigation for an article on The Autopian, a website dedicated to automotive culture, co-founder Jason Torchinsky delved into the details and clarified certain aspects of Apfelstadt’s case. However, Torchinsky discovered that the repair process was incredibly complex, even shockingly.
Torchinsky highlighted that a significant portion of the truck had to be disassembled throughout the repair process. He specifically mentioned the replacement of the bumper, the brackets behind the bumper, and the rear under-bumper sill panel, all of which sustained damage and required replacement. These tasks were not to be taken lightly as they involved rivets and bonding procedures, as shared by the repair shop.
To put it briefly, the need for painting a new tailgate to match the color standards led to a cascading effect, resulting in the disassembly of half of a highly intricate pickup truck, Torchinsky explained in his article.