Rivian R1T

Rivian customers woke up to some bad news this week, as the automaker sent out an email alerting reservation holders of its decision to drop the most affordable versions of its R1S electric SUV and R1T electric pickup truck, the Explore Package. At face value, this might not seem like devastating news; however, the elimination of this Package effectively raises the base prices of both vehicles by up to $6,000.

In the email to preorder holders, Rivian detailed its plans to cancel the base Explore Package that started at US$68,575 for the R1T and US$73,575 for the R1S (both including a US$1,075 destination fee). This change applies to existing reservation holders and new orders.

Rivian Adventure Network chargers

Rivian Adventure Network chargers

If you’re experiencing déjà vu, it’s likely because this isn’t the first time Rivian has come under fire for increasing prices. Earlier this year, the automaker attempted to raise prices across the board by up to US$12,000. However, after an onslaught of negative feedback from shocked customers, Rivian agreed to restore the original pricing to those who already had a reservation.

According to Rivian, customers can now either cancel their orders, or switch to the Adventure Package, which starts at US$74,075 for the R1T and US$79,075 for the R1S with destination. Any changes or cancellations must be made by September 1st, and the total price of the vehicle will be determined by the time in which the original reservation was made. Customers who cancel their order in time will get a refund on their deposit.

In addition to the elimination of the Explore Package, customers who ordered the Ocean Coast interior are now being asked if they’ll accept an update substituting in dark-stained wood. According to the email, Rivian will be introducing a new version of the package later in the year, which will include a wrapped vegan leather instrument panel.

“When we initially launched our vehicles, we planned for two packages, Adventure and Explore, to offer more variety to our customers. The Explore Package was designed as our entry option and it was our expectation that a large number of customers would choose it. To date, only a small percentage of customers have chosen this configuration, with the vast majority selecting the Adventure trim,” the email said. “By focusing on the Adventure trim package, we’re able to streamline our supply chain and ultimately deliver vehicles more quickly.”

Notably, Rivian laid off 6 per cent of its employees last month and reported a net loss of US$1.7 billion for the second quarter of 2022, despite plans to ramp up production and open a second factory in 2024.

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