Newly-filed bill would let Rivian sell electric trucks in Georgia

Rivian truck

Rivian, which has plans for a $5 billion manufacturing facility in Georgia, is hoping to sell directly to customers here too. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

Electric truck maker Rivian is advocating for a change to state law that will allow the company to sell trucks directly to customers in Georgia.

The push comes shortly after Rivian announced plans to build a $5 billion manufacturing plant east of Atlanta.

“There’s been a huge correlation between direct sales and higher electric vehicle sales,” said Rivian’s Leslie Hayward, who says that hands-on experience and face-to-face interaction with a salesperson is lost for someone shopping online. Right now, that’s the only way for Georgians to purchase Rivian trucks.

For many, a test drive would be the first time they’ve gotten behind the wheel.

Hayward says Georgia’s law — which currently only allows Tesla to sell directly to customers in Georgia — is outdated.

“For many reasons, including Rivian’s investment, it really just makes sense to allow these vehicles to be sold here in the state,” said Hayward.

Tesla was virtually alone in the electric vehicle market in 2015 when the Georgia law was last amended. It permitted Tesla to open five locations in Georgia and sell an unlimited number of cars. But it also specified that electric vehicle manufacturers had to have established retail locations in Georgia as of January 1, 2015 in order to sell to customers in person.

A bill was filed this week that removes that date and would let any electric vehicle manufacturer sell directly to customers.

Similar legislation last spring never made it past a subcommittee amid objections from Georgia auto dealers.