‘We take it everywhere’

NU welder/farmer likes Rivian pickup

Staff photo by Fritz Busch New Ulm welder/farmer Tad Ulrich stands next to his 2022 Rivian all-wheel drive electric pickup truck he bought new in 2022. Ulrich said the truck is especially good for off-road use. It can be raised up to six inches and has four electric motors, one for each wheel and 835 horsepower.

NEW ULM — Rivian and Tesla electric vehicle owners described their electric vehicle experiences in great detail.

Most of their responses were positive.

Rural New Ulm welder and farmer Tad Ulrich bought a brand new Rivian all-wheel drive pickup that was delivered to his door a couple years ago.

“I always wanted an electric vehicle. I was searching online and found Rivian. I ordered it online for $82,000 and put money down. They made all the arrangements and delivered it,” said Ulrich at this shop several miles southwest of New Ulm.

“I got it for making 40-mile daily trips to our Lafayette shop. I drive on gravel roads daily and often pull a trailer. They call these adventure vehicles. In all-wheel, off-road mode, the truck raises about six inches. It has four electric motors, one for each wheel,” he added.

He said he’s “hard-pressed” to find something he doesn’t like about the Rivian, built in Normal, Il.

“We take it everywhere. I’ve put almost 40,000 miles on it in two years. It’s my daily vehicle. I’m on my third set of tires, but had only one mechanical issue. A front drive unit went out. Rivian sent a flat bed truck to my place ot pick it up. They gave me a rental car and had the truck back in three working days,” Ulrich said.

He talked about driving it on ice in the winter.

“It’s heavy, weighing more than 7,000 pounds. You have to be careful on ice. It gets better mileage when its warm out. It’s fast too. With 835 horsepower, it can go Zero to 60 in three seconds. But I don’t drive it like that,” Ulrich added.

He said his home charging costs are very low for all the driving he does.

“I do about 90% of the charging at home. I can go 300 miles on a full charge. Brown County REA really treated me well. I haven’t paid more than $90 a month to charge it. I average driving it about 1,500 miles a month,” he added.

Ulrich said the truck is very quiet, smooth riding with an air suspension system, has 20-inch wheels and lots of towing ability.

Ulrich said Rivian has a Twin Cities dealership. He said he’d consider buying a Rivian SUV (sport utility vehicle) in the future for his wife. He prefers a pickup truck for his daily work needs.

Tyler Hunter-Pigg of Sanborn delivers The Journal to stores and post offices early in the morning five days a week. He bought a 2020 Model 3 Tesla in December 2019 in Arizona.

Hunter-Pigg seems to have mixed feelings about his Tesla.

“It’s been great,” he said. “The only real downside is service, compared to a good, local mechanic. Being about 125 away from a Minneapolis service center has proven to be a serious pain.”

Hunter-Pigg said Tesla provides mobile service that will come to him. It can be scheduled from his phone with a Tesla app.

“I got to meet one of the guys who works from Sioux Falls and services the surrounding area. A real nice dude that made me look forward to the next time I may have to use mobile service,” he added.

Hunter-Pigg described what it was like driving his Tesla from Phoenix to Sanborn.

“It was without problems except an occasional lack of convenience stores at charging locations, a 20-35 minute wait for charging time every 200-280 miles,” he added.

The Minnesota weather is another issue.

“In the southwest (U.S.), these cars are everywhere and very well suited to the climate. The effect of Minnesota cold is apparent. It loses range, and can get bad when it’s really cold,” said Hunter-Pigg.

He said he would consider buying another Tesla if a closer service center is available.

Hunter-Pigg talked about the Tesla’s regenerative braking.

“I loved that. When you take your foot off the pedal, the car begins to brake itself, regenerating a bit of power,” he added.

As of January 2023, more than 34,000 electric vehicles were registered in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)’s goal is for 5% of light-duty vehicles registered in Minnesota to be EVs by 2025 and 65% by 2040.

The Minnesota Climate Action Framework and Statewide Multi-modal Transportation Plan recently revised planned greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions to 50% by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

For more information, visit https://www.dot.state.mn.us/measures/greenhouse-gas-emissions.html


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