Rivian drops R1T, R1S | The most affordable exploration package news for

The electric vehicle startup Rivian has once again created a stir with its customers. After ongoing supply chain disruptions, order delays and price hikes on its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV earlier this year, the automaker has dropped the base exploration package for both vehicles with pre-orders now available. That leaves only the top adventure package, which raises Rivian’s entry cost by thousands.

Related: Rivian raises prices in response to inflationary frenzy

Previously, the R1T Exploration started at $67,500 and the R1S Exploration at $70,000 (prices no include destination charges); Adventure models are priced from $73,000 and $78,000 respectively. The two packages are distinguished primarily by their interior appointments: the Explore has matte-black finishes and heated vegan leather seats, while the Adventure’s upgrades include heated and cooled vegan leather seats, natural-grained gray wood trim and a premium Meridian sound system.

Possible culprits: Demand, supply chain issues

On its website, Rivian said the Adventure model was the more popular choice, citing low demand for the Explorer’s outgoing model. The startup also says that offering a package for each vehicle will reduce supply chain disruptions and get more vehicles into customers’ hands faster. As Automotive News reports, the Rivian’s production is behind schedule: The automaker produced 6,954 vehicles in the first half of the year, tracking well under its 25,000 annual goal.

“The Exploration Package was designed as our entry-price option and we expected many customers to choose it. However, to date, only a small percentage of our customers have chosen this configuration with the vast majority choosing the Adventure. By focusing on the Adventure trim package, we will continue our We are able to streamline the supply chain and ultimately deliver vehicles faster,” says a note on the company’s website.

While many Explorer customers took to the Rivian Owners Forum to defend the base model and voice their concerns about its departure, others applauded Rivian’s decision, claiming that the Adventure model was the best choice in the first place.

Reservation holders have to choose

Current reservation holders for the Exploration model can switch to the Adventure package or cancel their order altogether. All deposits will be refunded by September 16, and any customer who cancels an order and later decides to reinstate it, will be able to do so on the same date. Meanwhile, shoppers making new reservations will pay a $1,000 deposit, with deliveries expected to begin in late 2023.

The federal tax credit in crisis

Rivian’s new starting prices could put some customers at risk of losing their federal EV tax credit eligibility. Under current guidelines, the R1T and R1S qualify for a $7,500 tax credit, but the upcoming EV tax overhaul limits the maximum value of pickup trucks and SUVs to $80,000 starting Dec. 31. According to Automotive News, average order prices for Rivian vehicles hover around $93,000 with options.

Affordability on the horizon?

Despite the Rivian’s recent price hike, there may be some relief for shoppers priced out of buying a battery-powered pickup or SUV: The automaker has revealed plans to introduce more affordable R1T and R1S models by 2024. A lower-range battery (currently, the R1T gets an EPA-rated 314 miles, and the R1S gets 316 miles), and dual motors will replace the current quad-motor setup.

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