Photo by Mitchell Clark / The Verge
Rivian is telling customers that it won’t be building R1T pickup trucks with the “Max pack” battery option until 2023, as it’ll be prioritizing ones with the standard “large” battery pack for production throughout next year (via Electrek). In an email attributed to CEO RJ Scaringe, the company says it will work on orders for the higher-trim “Adventure Package” trucks with the regular battery first, and that the lower-end “Explorer Package” and bigger battery will come later.
When the company debuted its truck in 2018, the 400-mile estimated range afforded by the 180kWh Max pack was a big selling point. The “large” battery pack that comes standard with the trucks gets an EPA estimated range of 314 miles, but for the adventurous, off-road crowd Rivian markets to, every additional mile counts.
According to the email, about 20 percent of the preorders are for vehicles with the $10,000 Max pack option. Given the 71,000 preorders cited by the letter, that’s around 14,200 vehicles affected by the delay. It’s not the first time the company has had to push back its timeline — the original plan was to start shipping its electric trucks and SUVs in 2020, but the R1T didn’t start arriving until September 2021. The company has plans to build a second production facility (which should come with more battery manufacturing capacity), but doesn’t expect to start producing vehicles there until 2024.
While Rivian’s consumer vehicles are the flashiest (and the most fun to drive up a mountain), Rivian also has obligations to corporate customers. Amazon (which owns at least a 20 percent stake in the company, as revealed in the S-1 that preceded Rivian’s blockbuster IPO) has pledged to purchase 100,000 delivery vans from the company by 2024. Rivian also plans to start selling those vans and fleet versions of the R1S and R1T to non-Amazon companies in 2023. That means that Rivian’s attention, manufacturing capacity, and materials (including ever-scarce computer chips) are divided between customers and business contracts.
According to Electrek, people who want to get their vehicles sooner will be able to change the configurations they’ve ordered. Whether they’ll want to will likely depend on the customer’s needs and patience. InsideEVs posted the full letter, which thanks people who placed preorders for Max pack-equipped trucks in 2018 and 2019 for their “loyalty and commitment.” The email says that people who hadn’t already received their estimated delivery window should get it later on Tuesday.