Rivian's 400-Mile Battery Pack Delayed Until 2023
When Rivian announced that it would sell an all-electric pickup truck in 2018, the automaker stated that it would be available with a range of 400 miles thanks to a 180-kWh "Max" battery pack. It was one of the truck's main selling points, as few automakers were offering vehicles with over 300 miles of range back then. It also represented a large boost over the standard "Large" battery pack that offers an estimated range of 314 miles. Consumers looking to purchase a Rivian R1T truck with the "Max" battery pack are looking at a long wait.
Max Battery Coming In 2023
Rivian recently announced that it will delay production of R1T pickup trucks and R1S SUVs with the "Max" battery pack until 2023. Additionally, the automaker will also delay the entry-level Explore Package for both vehicles. These decisions are being made in order for Rivian to prioritize mainstream builds with the standard "Large" battery pack and the pricier Adventure Package. The information comes from an email that Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe sent to customers that someone posted on Reddit.
"In order to serve the largest number of preorder holders, we will be prioritizing building the Adventure Package with Large battery pack during the next year," Scaringe said in the letter. "Explore Package preorders and vehicles with a Max pack battery configuration will follow in 2023. In setting our delivery timing, we optimized our build sequence around the build combination that would support us ramping as quickly as possible and therefore have the largest possible positive climate impact."
It's interesting that Rivian specifically noted its decision to delay a few features was because of preorders. Scaringe claimed that roughly 20 percent of its 71,000 preorders are for the R1T pickup truck with the Max battery pack. That means the other 80 percent of reservations are for pickup trucks with the Regular battery pack. Focusing on the majority should help get the vehicles into customers' hands sooner. Unfortunately, it also means a longer wait for people that are in the minority.
Will Rivian Be Able To Match Demand?
Opting to focus on the more expensive Adventure Package isn't out of the ordinary either. It's exactly what Tesla does when it introduces a new vehicle. Higher-priced cars tend to be more popular with consumers and the extra money that the automaker receives helps it to boost production. While Rivian offers affordable R1S and R1T models, these actually won't be delivered for at least another year. Out of the brand's preorders, approximately 14,200 vehicles will be affected by the delay.
This isn't the first time Rivian has been hit by a delay. Originally, Rivian was supposed to start delivering its electric pickup trucks and SUVs in 2020. That was pushed back until September 2021. More recently, Rivian stated that it was focusing on fulfilling its Amazon order for delivery vans. The company announced plans to build a second production facility in Georgia to the tune of $5 billion that will go online by 2024, in addition to expanding on its facility in Normal, Illinois.
Getting production to match interest was one of the major things we were concerned about with Rivian. It's something Tesla's still dealing with now. Hopefully, Rivian will be able to get things up and running before demand really increases, as some customers have had preorders for vehicles since 2018. Having a vehicle delivered in 2023 means some people will be waiting for five years for their EVs.
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