Rivian is turning on the first EV fast chargers in its adventure network

Rivian this week will open three EV fast charging sites in California and Colorado as part of the automaker’s bid to build out an “adventure” network along interstates as well as locations near recreational activities aligned with its customer base.

The first Level 3 DC fast charging site, which opened Monday in Salida, Colorado, has four chargers that can provide more than 200 kilowatts of power, according to Rivian. This allows Rivian R1T drivers (and eventually R1S SUV drivers) to add as much as 140 miles of range in 20 minutes, the company said. One of the fast chargers is set up as a pull-through site to accommodate vehicles towing trailers.

Rivian said its second and third Adventure Network sites will open June 28 and June 29 in Inyokern and Bishop, California, locations that are near several recreational destinations such as Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite National Park and Death Valley National Park.

Opening the three DC fast charging sites is an important and first step toward Rivian’s plan to install 3,500 fast chargers at 600 sites across North America. But these fast chargers are just one piece of Rivian’s dual EV infrastructure strategy to install more than 10,000 chargers by the end of 2023.

The Rivian Adventure Network includes fast chargers located along interstates, like the one that opened in Salida, and another layer that is atypical in the EV industry.

Rivian is also installing so-called Level 2 AC chargers at adventurous destinations like mountain bike and hiking trailheads, kayaking spots, national and state parks and even popular climbing crags. The aim is to appeal directly to Rivian’s customer base and notably, to attract new buyers. All of Rivian’s Level 2 AC chargers, which the company has dubbed “waypoints,” are open to the public and accessible to all electric vehicle brands with a J1772 plug. The DC fast chargers are only accessible to Rivian customers.

Rivian started last July to install the first of these waypoints at all 42 Colorado state parks. Each park will have two Rivian waypoints each.

The new fast charging sites opening this week also include the slower “waypoint” chargers. For instance, Rivian’s Salida location has four “Level 2” AC chargers that provide an 11.5kW charging speed. At that rate, the Level 2 charger should be able add up to 25 miles of range every hour on an R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV.

Rivian owners are able to locate the waypoints as well as its branded fast chargers through the vehicle’s navigation and the accompanying app.