Electric vehicle startup Rivian has once again stirred the pot with its customers. After battling ongoing supply chain constraints, delaying orders and raising prices for its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV earlier this year, the automaker has dropped the base Explore package for both vehicles , included for existing pre-orders. That leaves only the top adventure pack, which increases the cost of Rivian admission by thousands.
Related: Rivian raises prices in response to inflationary madness
Previously, the R1T Explore started at $67,500 and the R1S Explore at $70,000 (prices not no include destination charge); Adventure models are priced at $73,000 and $78,000, respectively. The two packages are separated primarily by their interior amenities: the Explore gets matte black trim and heated vegan leather seats, while Adventure upgrades include heated and cooled vegan leather seats, wood trim natural grain ash and a premium Meridian sound system.
Possible culprits: demand, supply chain issues
On its website, Rivian cites low demand for the outgoing Explore, stating that the Adventure model is the most popular choice. The startup also says that offering just one package for each vehicle will reduce supply chain bottlenecks and get more vehicles into customers’ hands faster. According to a report from Automotive News, Rivian’s production is lagging: The automaker produced 6,954 vehicles in the first half of the year, trailing well short of its annual goal of 25,000.
“The Explore package was designed as our entry price option and it was our expectation that many customers would choose it. However, to date only a small percentage of our customers have chosen this configuration and the vast majority have selected Adventure .By focusing on the Adventure trim package, we can streamline our supply chain and ultimately deliver vehicles faster,” explains a note on the company’s website.
While many Explore customers took to the Rivian Owners Forum to defend the base model and voice their concerns about its departure, others praised Rivian’s decision, stating that the Adventure model was the better choice in the first place .
Reservation holders must choose
Current reserve holders for the Explore model can switch to the Adventure package or cancel their order entirely. All deposits will be refundable until September 16th, and any customer who cancels the order and subsequently decides to reinstate it will be able to do so on the same date. Meanwhile, buyers who make a new reservation will pay a $1,000 deposit, and deliveries are expected to begin in late 2023.
Federal tax credit in jeopardy
Rivian’s new introductory prices may put some customers at risk of losing their eligibility for the federal electric vehicle tax credit. Under current guidelines, the R1T and R1S are eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, but the upcoming electric vehicle tax overhaul caps the maximum price for pickup trucks and SUVs at $80,000 starting Dec. 31. According to Automotive News, average order prices for Rivian vehicles are around $93,000 with options.
Affordability on the horizon?
Despite Rivian’s recent price hikes, there may be some relief for buyers who haven’t purchased the battery-powered pickup truck or SUV: The automaker has revealed plans to introduce more affordable R1T and R1S models by 2024. The pair will likely get a lower-range battery (the R1T currently gets an EPA-rated 314 miles and the R1S gets 316 miles), and dual motors will replace the current quad-motor setup.
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