Rivian Kills the Entry-Level Package R1T and R1S, Here's What's Next

Rivian decided to end the Explore Package for the all-electric R1T and R1S. The automaker gave up on the cheaper truck and SUV versions before anybody could get their hands on an Explore Package-equipped EV made in Normal, Illinois. But there’s more to it. Here are the newest changes.
Rivian's Updated Ocean Coast Interior 13 photos
Photo: Rivian on Facebook
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Rivian announced some of its pre-order holders and customers with binding agreements that they would have to deal with a price increase or get their refundable deposit back. Essentially, prospective buyers with the Explore Package ticked were left with two simple options – pay more and get the upgraded, more expensive R1T/R1S or give up for good on owning one of the two EVs made by the company.

It's important to remember that all qualifying customers that got into a binding agreement before the President signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law (16th of August 2022) can make use of the $7,500 federal EV tax credit in 2023.

In a letter sent to customers, the American EV maker argues this move was necessary because it wants to “deliver as many vehicles as possible.” Rivian reported a loss of $1.71 billion for the second quarter of 2022 and the changes made by the current administration to the federal EV tax credit rules meant they had to hurry up and get more customers into binding contracts so they could benefit from the $7,500 next year. Consequently, the company had to honor the prices that were available (and somewhat feasible) before the global health crisis, the lockdowns, inflation, parts sourcing issues, energy pricing, and geopolitical instability.

The good news is the manufacturer still has over $15 billion in cash and equivalents, according to its Q2 of 2022 shareholder letter. Rivian can still reach profitability.

Moving forward

Because the automaker is, after all, a for-profit company, they had to make a couple of decisions to keep the enterprise afloat right now and not burn through all the reserves. They confirmed to all the people in the queue that there are no entry-level electric trucks and SUVs left, even though none were delivered. This means the Explore Package is no longer an option and has been discontinued. It’s not yet sure if this will be the case permanently. The lower-priced R1S and R1T may return at some point.

Dual\-motor R1T
Photo: Rivian Web Configurator
Some customers expressed their dissatisfaction with the automaker on social media and forums, while others said they understand why this is happening. Pre-order holders are still processing this information, but many are planning to stick with Rivian even after this decision. The multiple videos made by lucky customers and reports written by journalists convinced many that Rivian is banking on quality and is trying its best. Moreover, the trucks sold on auction websites for more than $100,000 signaled to those in line that their future EVs might be worth more than what they paid.

Previously, going from the Explore Package to the better-equipped Adventure Package meant customers had to agree to a $4,500 price hike. Now, according to multiple reports coming from pre-order holders in a dedicated Facebook group, this is a $5,500 increase.

The Adventure Package includes everything the Explore Package had and adds the gear guard cable, a Meridian sound system, wood trim on the interior, vegan leather seats with perforations needed for the ventilation function, adjustable lumbar support for the passenger, and microfiber headliner. The powered tonneau cover remains a separate option.

People that made a deposit a couple of years ago for the base R1T knew they had to pay around $60,000. Now, after price increases and configuration changes, the EV truck is available for new customers starting from $73,000. This sum includes the Adventure Package, dual-motor all-wheel drive, the standard 260-mi battery pack, and LA Silver paint.

Picking the quad-motor all-wheel drive version automatically adds the 314-mile large pack battery and, with no color and wheel changes, the price goes from $73,000 to $87,000. That’s above the $80,000 threshold set by the Inflation Reduction Act that was already signed into law. This means customers can’t benefit from the new perks.

Discontinued Explore Package Notification
Photo: Chris Frank in RIVIAN Electric Vehicles Discussion Facebook Group
The same situation is applicable for new buyers of the R1S - it now starts from $78,000 with the Adventure Package, the dual-motor all-wheel drive, the included wheels and paint, and the standard 260-mile battery. Choosing the quad-motor all-wheel drive and no other extras bumps up the price to $92,000.

It’s all done for Wall Street customers

It’s good to know that buyers who chose the R1T with Adventure Package right from the get-go or upgraded this year saw their delivery time improve – trucks that were planned for 2023 are now being delivered. All entry-level models with the Explore Package were programmed for next year. Now they’re discontinued until further notice.

On top of all this, the cost of the quad-motor option is $8,000 rather than the previous cost of $6,000. That’s another $2,000 increase that hasn’t been underlined anywhere in the automaker’s message sent to customers. However, buyers that pre-ordered an Explore Pack vehicle before and after March 1st, 2022 will not see the cost increase. For them, it will remain at $6,000.

But there’s more! In an effort to streamline the production process, Rivian also changed the look of its Ocean Coast interior. The lighter, more pale dash is now being replaced with a darker option. Starting from 2023, customers will be able to receive a whiter Ocean Coast interior with the dash wrapped in vegan leather.

“In response to supply chain challenges associated with sourcing light ash wood, we decided to replace the light wood accents of Ocean Coast with dark stained ash wood accents. (…) And for any customers that prefer lighter accents throughout the cabin, we’ll be introducing an additional Ocean Coast design for our Adventure Package in configurator later this year, with deliveries for this additional option starting in early 2023,” says Rivian.

Customers with binding order agreements that don’t want the updated Ocean Coast interior can cancel their order and will receive a full refund.

At the end of the day, Rivian will survive this price hike disguised as a configuration change, and it might even thrive off it. The automaker’s planning on manufacturing an R2 line of vehicles which the company said will be cheaper than its current offering. Customers can expect rivals for the likes of Ford Maverick and BMW X3 to come from the Normal plant. Unfortunately, this might take a couple of years to become reality as the EV manufacturer is currently trying to improve output for the R1 line and the EDV van.

As of its last public report, the automaker delivered 5,694 vehicles. This number must have grown, considering it was based on data available until the 30th of June, 2022. The company says it’s on track to meet the 25,000 vehicles quota for the current year. In comparison, Lucid said it will deliver approximately 7,000 sedans until the end of December. Tesla is in a league of its own – it delivered almost 255,000 EVs only in the Q2 of 2022.
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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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