Rivian reported Friday that thanks to a continued production ramp the wait time for new orders on its R1T is now down to 14 days or less in some cases.
The electric truck maker is catching up on a production backlog that once looked like it might take years to work through, and it’s made significant headway—to the degree that some might wonder if pricing may soon need to be adjusted downward.
Rivian price cut coming?
Based on remarks made this past week to Reuters, by Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe, that’s unlikely to be the case, and Rivian has no plans to follow EV price cuts from Tesla and Ford.
"We will offer a lower priced variant, but not necessarily lower prices on the things we're offering today," said Scaringe to Reuters. "These (R1S and R1T) are the products that are building our brand. They're not meant to sell hundreds of thousands of units."
Rivian does plan to introduce a more affordable, mass-market R2 lineup, due to be made at a new plant in Georgia, and definitely in the hundreds of thousands annually, but that won’t arrive until 2026.
“Our long-term success as a business will be determined by our ability to produce high volumes of vehicles profitably,” it said last week, as part of its quarterly update for shareholders.
2023 Rivian R1T
Rivian production exceeds deliveries
For the first quarter of the year, Rivian announced that it produced 9,395 vehicles and delivered 7,946. “We expect to continue to see a variance between production and delivery volumes as we ramp our production facility,” it said.
The R1T currently starts at $74,800, including the mandatory $1,800 destination fee, while the R1S starts at $79,800. That’s for the Dual-Motor and LFP battery pack. Quad-Motor versions with the Large pack (328 miles for the R1T, 321 miles for the R1S) cost $19,000 more—although Dual-Motor models with the Large Pack, yet to be delivered, are pegged at around 350 and 340 miles, respectively.
Neither the Rivian R1S nor R1T are eligible for the full $7,500 Clean Vehicle Credit, according to the IRS, but they do both qualify for a $3,750 credit if their MSRP (not including destination) amounts to $80,000 or less. Those who claim it will also need to fit within a maximum $150,000 adjusted gross income for single filers ($300,000 for joint filers).
Rivian also last year dropped the most affordable Explore versions of its R1T and R1S, which further hiked up base prices.
Beyond that, the company has a solution to raise volume without lowering the price on those flagship versions: It’s steered price-conscious buyers toward Dual-Motor versions of its trucks with the Standard pack and its lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry.
Rivian dual-motor components
Rivian dual-motor components
Longer-range Rivian Dual-Motor deliveries start soon
Perhaps also in lieu of dropping prices, Rivian has greatly accelerated the timeline for delivering lower-priced Dual-Motor versions, which as recently as last year hadn’t been anticipated until late in 2023. In the first quarter of the year, Rivian launched production of its own in-house Enduro motor line. While those are already going into Rivian’s vans, it confirmed in last week’s update that these motors are going into dual-motor R1 models starting later this month.
Rivian Enduro drive unit
Rivian last week reported that as of March 31 it had made about 35,000 vehicles since the start of production for the R1T. It also reaffirmed a 50,000 production target for calendar year 2023. That’s what the target had originally been for 2022, but last March it halved that target to 25,000, pointing to persistent supply issues.
As part of its update it said it’s completing the fulfillment of its “pre-March 2022 preoder base.” That’s the timing of a poorly communicated price hike on its trucks that resulted in the company keeping to earlier, significantly lower, prices for those who had made a deposit by then.
2023 Rivian R1S
The company, at its last quarterly update, said that its order backlog stretches into 2024, but in the context of short delivery timelines today that appears to include build combinations that simply won’t yet be made this year.
Just getting a drive in a Rivian was an issue for potential buyers early on, but now the company also clarified that demo drives are now open to everyone, not just reservation-holders. Rivian Service Centers will also have ready-to-go configurations that may be available for delivery, according to the company.