RJ Scaringe, CEO and founder of electric vehicle maker Rivian, said Wednesday the company has fixed a “significant majority” of the more than 12,000 vehicles that were recalled earlier this month.
On the TechCrunch Disrupt stage, Scaringe gave the audience a postmortem on how Rivian solved the issue that caused the company to voluntarily recall the thousands of vehicles that had been delivered with a loose fastener. The fastener connects the front upper control arm and steering knuckle. Rivian issued the recall because of concerns it was not sufficiently torqued on certain vehicles. This could cause loose and vibrating tires, wheel tilt and loss of steering control.
“There’s thousands of parts in the vehicle, and so there are certain types of joints which we call safety critical joints or critical joints, and every one of those has a torque measurement,” said Scaringe. “So when you put the fastener on, we actually record the torque, it goes into a database and we have traceability. And what had happened on this was the traceability element of this was lost in some of the way that the back end was working, so we had to check that.”
Scaringe said Rivian has traceability on hundreds of fasteners in the vehicle, and the issue shouldn’t happen again.
“Every manufacturer deals with some version of this and so for us, this was something where we identified a potential issue we said we want to get out as early as possible,” said Scaringe. “So the moment we saw a potential issue, we made a decision. It was on a Friday afternoon to make this move. And by Friday evening, repairs are underway. And we worked through a significant majority of the vehicles over the next 10 days.”
Scaringe said Rivian’s direct-to-consumer model allowed the company to move quickly, rather than having to go through third parties or dealers.
“We literally mobilized our whole service network to say let’s go move through these vehicles really quickly,” said Scaringe. “In this case, it was like a minute fix. It’s just checking the torque on a fastener.”
Despite obvious frustration from customers at having to go through a vehicle recall, Scaringe said reaction has been positive.
“We were authentic about it, we didn’t we didn’t sugarcoat it,” he said. “We said we’re gonna go fix this. And so there actually has been really quite positive.”