- New dual-motor all-wheel-drive version of R1T and R1S announced.
- Base model assumes the previous price of quad-motor models, which are now nearly $15,000 higher.
- Pricing increase applies to existing pre-orders too.
Electric pickups are the next big thing, and there are a whole truckload on the way over the next few years. Newcomer Rivian has the advantage of being the first to market with its R1T. We've tested one and are seriously impressed with what the startup is able to deliver. The quad-motor electric truck can go more than 300 miles on a full charge and is every bit as smooth and powerful as we expected from an 835-horsepower electric powertrain.
This week Rivian announced some exciting changes for the R1T, but with a big caveat that has a number of reservation holders up in arms. Here's what we know.
It's pretty typical for an automaker to have an extra-fancy, extra-powerful, extra-expensive model leading the way. Think of GMC's first Hummer EVs, which cost well north of $100,000. Models with more modest price tags come later to bring even more customers into the brand.
Hot off the introduction of the fully loaded R1T models, Rivian announced that it will build dual-motor all-wheel-drive versions of the R1T pickup and R1S SUV, with deliveries slated to begin in 2024.
Instead of having four motors, with one for each wheel, these new motors will drive each axle. Performance isn't expected to suffer too much either, as the dual-motor setup will have more than 600 horsepower and is expected to return a 0-60 mph time of 4 seconds, compared to the quad motor's as-tested acceleration run of 3.5 seconds.
The new entry-level R1T and R1S will come with a so-called "Standard" battery pack, which will have 260-plus miles of range according to Rivian. This is all well and good except for one detail — the price. The R1T with the Standard pack will start at approximately $67,500, while the R1S will start at $70,000. Just a week ago, that was the price that reservation holders, and prospective buyers, were told would get them an R1T or R1S with four electric motors and more than 300 miles of range.
When the Rivian R1T was priced back in 2018 (!) the world looked quite a bit different. A pandemic, supply chain disruptions and chip shortages have fundamentally changed the landscape for Rivian and its suppliers. The price to get a quad-motor R1T with the currently available Large battery pack (the middle-range option) is now $79,500 without destination or handling fees, which are not listed. The R1S is in a similar boat, with prices increasing from roughly $70,000 to $84,500 on the quad-motor version. A nearly $15,000 increase for the same basic vehicle is undoubtedly a tough pill to swallow.
The biggest shock to a number of reservation holders is that this price increase applies to any order that's not already in production or being delivered to customers. Rivian has given them an option to go with the less impressive dual-motor option at the original price, but again, deliveries of these vehicles don't begin until 2024.
Over on Rivian Forums there's a thread where a number of users are chiming in to share an email they received from Rivian, explaining that there would be price increases for their pre-orders and pointing them to the configurator for details. Numerous users are considering whether they could, or should, stick with their existing reservations. Many report feeling priced out, especially as they noted increases to accessories and option packages as well.
There's a silver lining with the upcoming dual-motor version, but raising prices by nearly 20% is putting enthusiastic R1T and R1S reservation holders in a difficult position.