Rivian customers “enraged” after company cancels its most affordable electric truck

Rivian canceled the entry-level version of the R1T, effectively raising the price of its base model electric truck by over $6,000, according to an online forum for customers and later confirmed by the company.

The company said in an email to customers that it was canceling the base “Explore” model, which started at $67,500, in favor of the $73,000 “Adventure” trim. Customers can either upgrade to the more expensive trim level or cancel their orders, the company advised. Rivian has also “discontinued” the less expensive trim for its R1S electric SUV, which is expected to start shipping to customers later this year.

In an email to preorder holders, a copy of which was shared with The Verge by Rivian spokesperson Tanya Miller, the company says it made the decision to no longer offer the Explore package so it can “deliver as many vehicles as possible.”

The email says that “focusing on the Adventure trim package” will let Rivian “streamline” its supply chain and make more vehicles. In its most recent earnings report, the company reported delivering 4,467 vehicles and restated its goal to build 25,000 this year.

If customers choose to upgrade to the Adventure model, the price increase will be determined by when they originally placed their order. If they cancel their preorder, they’ll get a refund on their deposit. The company explains that “only a small percentage of customers” had ordered the Explore model.

One customer on the Rivian Owners Forum says they were “totally enraged and let down at the same time” when they got the email, explaining that upgrading to the higher-end truck would add almost $8,000 to the price tag.

This isn’t the first time Rivian preorder holders have been angered by a price increase. In March, the company increased the estimated prices of its vehicles by up to 20 percent, which equated to some preorder holders being told their trucks would be $10,000 or $20,000 more expensive. But after an uproar, the company walked back the price increase a day later, apologizing to customers. Now, the company has managed to more or less raise the entry price of the R1T and R1S by around $5,500 and $6,000, respectively.

According to Miller, “no deliveries of Explore packages have been made to date.” There’s precedent for electric vehicles being announced at a price that most customers won’t actually end up paying — Tesla originally announced that the Model 3 would start at $35,000, but actually getting the EV for that price proved extremely difficult, and Tesla eventually stopped offering it.

Rivian has recently been facing some financial storms. Last month, it laid off 6 percent of its employees, and it reported a net loss of $1.71 billion for Q2 2022.

Earlier this month, Ford announced that the price of its electric pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning, would go up by $7,000 across all trim levels when it goes back on sale.

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