Rivian's Game-Changing Truck Just Got Way More Expensive (Updated)

And having an existing pre-order won't save you.

rivian r1t pickup truck off roading
Elliot Ross

Update, 3/3/2022: Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe issued an open letter this morning, announcing that everyone who had placed a pre-order for a R1S or R1T as of the March 1st announcement would have their original price quote honored.

Things are changing quick over at Rivian.

First off, the groundbreaking electric vehicle maker is now offering a new entry-level version of its impressive R1T electric pickup truck and R1s EV SUV. Per Roadshow, base-model Rivians will swap out the quad-motor system built by Bosch for an in-house built dual-motor setup. That setup will still offer an impressive 600 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque, and accelerate the truck from 0-60 mph in about four seconds, and the Standard Pack battery will deliver a claimed 260 miles of range. Otherwise, you're getting pretty much the same R1T as we drove in our first spin in the truck last year.

That sounds like a great deal, right? Well, there's a catch: the Rivians aren't getting cheaper.

The R1T, for example, will still start at a nominal $67,500, same as before — it's just that you'll now be getting a less capable truck for that expenditure. And leveling up to the truck you would have previously received for $67,500 on the Rivian configurator will be pricey. It's an additional $6,000 to level up to the quad-motor system, and it's another $6,000 to add the Large battery pack for around 320 miles of range. That brings the total price of what was the only version of the R1T at launch to $79,500...and that will be more than $81,000 should you want your R1T in any color that isn't L.A. Silver.

But Rivian's tens of thousands of existing reservation holders will be breathing a sigh of relief they got in before the price hike, right? Well, no, they won't. The price increase also affects existing customers with pre-orders who aren't in the final stages of accepting delivery for their vehicle. In other words, a whole lot of reservation-holding customers will have to decide whether to accept the less-powerful, shorter-range version — or pay $12,000 or so more for the rig they originally expected they'd be getting.

The Rivian R1T is still a relatively good deal. The base dual-motor version will be more capable in significant ways than the Ford F-150 Lightning, and leveling up to the quad-motor R1T — our game-changing vehicle for 2021 — will still be markedly cheaper than the six-figure Chevy Silverado EV (that won't arrive for quite a while, regardless). However, the surprise 18% price hike (or acceptance of a lesser product) likely won't feel like a fantastic deal to Rivian buyers already holding pre-orders.

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