Rivian eyes Shelton for its only CT electric vehicle service site

SHELTON — A national electric vehicle company is poised to call Shelton home. 

The Planning and Zoning Commission, at its meeting Wednesday, asked that staff prepare a favorable resolution for an application by Rivian, a U.S.-based manufacturer of electric trucks and vans which is seeking to lease space at 2 Mountain View Drive. 

Rivian’s plans call for the space to be used for servicing its electric vehicles and as a pickup location for Rivian electric vehicles sold to customers remotely. 

There would be no sales or test drive activities at the site, according to attorney Alan Tyma, who represents Rivian. Connecticut does not allow car manufacturers to sell directly to customers, although the Legislature has considered bills before that would change that.

“This is a plus for the town,” Tyma said about Rivian’s decision to open its only Connecticut facility in Shelton. 

Tyma said, if Rivian were to receive approval, the next step is for major renovations of the interior of the structure, which are expected to take some four months, with an opening planned for the middle of 2023. 

The commission will vote on the resolution at a future meeting.

Rivian is seeking a special exception to operate an automotive service, office and moderate retail in an LIP zone. Zoning Administrator Alex Rossetti said the approval is needed because the regulations do not cover electric vehicle facilities. 

Tyma said Rivian currently makes three types of vehicles — commercial vans, specifically those used by Amazon, SUVs and trucks. 

The Mountain View Drive service center will be the single tenant in the 27,469-square-foot existing building. The space will be used for service, delivery, parts and storage, and a “front-of-house" area, which will take up to around 25 percent of the building and provide a customer lounge with seating and access meeting areas. 

Factory delivered vehicles would be inspected and detailed for final delivery to customers from the service area, according to Tyma. Vehicle servicing would include wheel alignment, hardware replacement and software programming, as well as pre-delivery inspection. 

All work would be conducted inside the building, accessed through two main entry ways via overhead motorized doors and additional man doors, according to the application. Electric vehicle charging stations would also be located inside and outside the building for the service team and Rivian-owned vehicles. 

“Unlike a traditional dealership, we do not carry inventory on site because our vehicles are customized and made to order via our website,” the application states. 

The application does state Rivian would like this site to be allowed to have sales along with service if and when the state allows manufacturers of electric vehicles to sell directly within Connecticut.