Electric Vehicle Owner Hit with $42,000 Bill After Minor Fender Bender: 'Something Doesn't Add Up'


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

If you needed another reason to steer clear of electric vehicles, a recent social media post about the cost to repair one particular model might do the trick.

This story concerns the Rivian electric pickup truck, produced by a popular startup company whose customers have been known to wait up to three or four years for delivery of their new vehicle.

The Rivian R1T has a base price of $73,000.

In a recent Facebook post in a Rivian group, Chris Apfelstadt shared his experience with getting his EV repaired after a minor fender-bender.

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“In early February, I was rear ended in my R1T,” he wrote in the April 29 post. “No airbags went off and the collision was at a relatively low speed.

“The other driver asked what kind of car I was driving, and my response was ‘the kind that is going to p*** off your insurance company!'”

He hastened to add that he had just been making a joke — or so he thought. “We both laughed, and I told her about the brand,” Apfelstadt said.

But the joke turned out to be more prophetic than he knew.

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The final repair bill totaled more than $42,000.

“I figured the repair would be expensive but had no idea,” Apfelstadt said.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company had estimated the damage to his Rivian at $1,600 and sent him a check for that amount.

But the repair work, done at a Rivian-certified body shop, turned out to be more involved than Apfelstadt or the insurance company anticipated.

“They were incredibly meticulous and detailed and completely disassembled the rear end of my truck to discover all of the damage,” he said in the post.

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“They carefully documented every step with photographs to show the insurance company the process and It took over two and half months to finally get my truck back,” he said.

“They did an incredible job and my R1T looks as nice as the day it was shipped,” Apfelstadt said.

“I have heard that Rivian made some concessions in the repairability in order to keep the Aesthetics a certain way. All I know is that this is a very expensive vehicle to fix!”

The at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy had a maximum limit of $50,000. The repairs and the cost of a rental car for him to use while his Rivian was being fixed just about exhausted that.

“We are close,” he said.

“It feels good to have my truck back! It was almost like waiting for delivery all over again!”

Some people on social media were skeptical about the story.

One shared the story on Twitter, asking, “$42,000 repair for a dented rear bumper on a Rivian R1T?  Also, something doesn’t add up here, why did they remove the rear glass?”

Another Twitter user responded to the post, saying, “That is insane, insurance rates will skyrocket.”

The Twitter poster who questioned the charges agreed. “100%. That’s why it needs to be questioned now.”

Some suggested insurance fraud might be involved.

Another Twitter user was more willing to see things from the body shop’s point of view.

“Repair shops have to follow [original equipment manufacturer] procedures to limit their liability. Blame the manufacturers,” he said.

“You can always find a shop to do it cheaper, doesn’t mean it’s done correctly. It may look great, but not done to manufacturers’ published repair manual. Done by the book costs $$$ and not just for EV.”

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Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.
Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.