Rivian Cans The Entry-Level Trim Of R1T Electric Truck

Rivian has announced that it is killing the entry-level models for the R1T electric truck and the R1S SUV due to weak demand. In an official support document, the electric upstart mentioned that the base models — dubbed the Explore Package — for each car are no longer on the table, which means customers now only have the option of paying a premium for the pricy  Adventure Package.

The company, which posted a net loss of $1.7 billion in the second quarter of 2022, said in the document that it hoped for a more enthusiastic reaction towards the Explore Package, but "only a small percentage of our customers" went with the most affordable configuration. For customers that had already pre-ordered the base package now have two options. They can either pay up and upgrade to the Adventure Package, or cancel their pre-order and get a refund on the deposit amount.

The upgrade can be performed from the Rivian account dashboard. Once the Explore Package has been upgraded, a new shipping slot will be allocated, but it won't be any earlier than the standard estimates for each trim. Customers that don't take any action before September 1, their pre-order for the entry-level R1 will be canceled automatically. For folks that signed a binding contract, they can get a full refund worth $100 if they cancel the order before September 16. Rivian says it discontinued the Explore Package so that it can address supply chain woes and "deliver vehicles more quickly" after delays.

Vexing journey for a solid drive

With the Explore version now off the board, potential buyers will now have to add $5,500 to their budget if they hope to get their hands on the R1T, and it'll be $6,000 for those eyeing the R1S. A quick look at the Rivian forum suggests that the move is not sitting well with customers.

With the entry-level trim gone, the Rivian R1T now starts at $73,000, while the R1S SUV will set you back by $78,000 at the very least. Rivian caught heat in March of 2022 when it raised the price of its EVs by as much as $20,000 even for customers that had paid a deposit worth $1,000. The company quickly rescinded that decision and issued an apology two days later.

In related news, the folks over at Car and Driver did another round of range test on the R1T and came up with some encouraging results. Compared to the 220-mile range clocked by the electric truck on the all-terrain tires, the car went all the way up to 280 miles when fitted with the 22-inch street tires.

For all the bad press that Rivian has garnered and the troubles that it is currently facing in a challenging market, the company's debut vehicles have cultivated a solid reputation so far. In his first drive of the Rivian R1T, SlashGear's Chris Davies labeled it a compelling all-rounder with an astonishingly aggressive price tag.