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If You Build it . . .

I have yet to see a single Rivian in my area – which isn’t surprising given Rivian has only delivered 20,332 of its electric truck/SUV appliances with the Edsel-esque face so far. And that ought not to be surprising, either, given that the least expensive of these battery-powered appliances stickers for $73,000 to start (no extra charge for the serial glitches being reported by the handful of people who’ve bought one so far).

Rivian is not likely to ever sell more than a small handful of these devices – because there’s only a small handful of people who have the means to buy a $73,000 vehicle, battery-powered or not.

But Rivian wants to sell you something else – and we’ve already bought it.

It’s called the Rivian Adventure Network. Which is a network of DC “fast” chargers paid for by you and me and everyone else forced to pay the taxes that finance such things, under the rubric of the Biden Thing’s Inflation Reduction Act. A thing that has as much to do with reducing inflation as the “Federal” Reserve has to do with the coining of honest money.

A new one just opened up in my area, where Rivians are as scarce as snow in Death Valley. But never mind that. The assumption appears to be (per the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams) that if you build it, they will come. Except that was about baseball, something most everyone likes.

The IRA spigoted money – $7.5 billion – toward “infrastructure”  . . . but not in the usual sense. As in bridges and roads. Instead (as in the “vaccine” sense) it was spigoted to electric grift operations such as Rivian, which used some of it (pocketing much of it) to build “fast” chargers, at which people wait to instill high-voltage DC electricity into their depleted EVs.

Rivian’s Adventure Network (like so much of modern verbiage, the term is the opposite of the actuality, unless you consider it “adventuresome” to hang out at shopping center parking lots for half an hour waiting for your EV to be usable again) is like the Tesla Supercharger network in that both can be used by other-brand EVs, which is a good thing in the case of Rivian as there are almost no Rivan EVs on the road.

Those six Rivian chargers recently installed outside the Earth Fare store in Roanoke, VA for instance would otherwise stand lonesome, like mile markers along a road no one uses. Because there are probably fewer Rivians in the Roanoke area than there are Rivian-brand chargers.

The math regarding all of this is interesting.

It costs about what a single Rivian lists for to install a single “fast” charger capable of spigoting high-voltage three phase DC power into the EV’s battery. This latter is what makes “fast” charging possible, by the way – though it’s only “fast” relative to how long it take to charge an EV battery using more readily available AC current, which is what you’ve got at home.

This does not factor in the cost of the necessary cabling and the installation of transformers – those are the big box-looking things you see close by the “pumps” – nor the cost applied to the grid and so, to us (more about that in a moment).

Probably the cost to build out six “fast” chargers approaches half a million bucks. And someone’s got to pay for all of that. More finely put, it’s hard to make it pay – without making people pay.

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