Startup electric automaker Rivian has been making waves with big names ever since it began previewing its all-electric pickup truck and SUV to the masses. Like with most new technologies, its vehicles weren't expected to be cheap, however, but new information revealed by Reuters suggests that its upcoming EVs will be even cheaper than expected.
According to founder R.J. Scaringe, a well-equipped mid-range version of the Rivian R1T pickup will be priced at $69,000, and that includes a battery with 300 miles of range and Rivian's unique "glass sky panel," which is an electrochromic panel which can change from clear to blue at the press of a button. A similarly equipped R1S SUV will go to market at around $72,000.
If you've been following Rivian's progress for some time, the $69,000 price tag might sound familiar. When initially announced, the R1T was said to start at $69,000 for the base model, a vehicle that offered a modern electric drivetrain but may have experienced stunted sales with a range of only 230 miles. This new information reveals that Rivian will now offer at least three packs with its vehicles: a small 135-kilowatt-hour pack with 230 miles of range, a top-trim 180 kWh pack with 400 miles of range, and the mid-range pack that offers up to 300 miles.
The first deliveries of Rivian's upcoming pickup are scheduled to take place in late 2020. Prospective customers can opt to place a refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve their spot in line for a vehicle, though Rivian says it will build the larger range vehicles first and slowly scale down to its base model within 12 months of release. Rivian also hasn't mentioned how many individuals have put down a $1,000 refundable deposit, but Scaringe recently told Reuters that feedback from prospective buyers has been "really positive".
"[W]e’re excited by that," said Scaringe. "But we now have the challenge of a lot of pre-order customers aren’t going to get the cars as fast as they like because there’s such a long queue.”
It's not just your average consumer interested in Rivian's products either. Big corporate names have also looked into funding the startup, including Amazon, which led a $700 million cash influx early last year. Ford and Rivian also struck a separate $500 million partnership to develop an all-new vehicle on Rivian's skateboard platform, something which new reports suggest will be underpinning Lincoln's first electric SUV.
Rivian is preparing to enter the congested markets of American-facing pickups and SUVs. In order to succeed, it isn't focusing on competing directly with the F-series pickup or building a dedicated work truck for the average driver. Instead, Rivian is buildings its niche around the modern adventurer—it pitches an off-road capable truck powered by batteries and ready to serve any on-the-go driver who ventures off the beaten path but also wants to experience the creature comforts of modern vehicles.
Rivian will continue to unveil more information about its trucks in the coming months as the end-of-year delivery window creeps closer.
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