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Rivian delays delivery of trucks with large battery packs until 2023

Rivian is pitching its R1T electric pickup to an affluent market, able to afford the initial $73,000 cost,
Rivian is pitching its R1T electric pickup to an affluent market, able to afford the initial $73,000 cost.

Rivian customers who have ordered the R1T pickup truck with extended range battery pack will have to wait until 2023, a year after the company had estimated it would begin deliveries.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said in an email to customers the company is trying to chart the best course to ramp up production as quickly as possible.

“In order to serve the largest number of preorder holders, we will be prioritizing building the Adventure Package with large pack battery during the next year. Explore Package preorders and vehicles with a Max pack battery configuration will follow in 2023,” said Scaringe in a portion of the email posted on Reddit.

Scaringe said the Max pack is about 20% of the existing orders. The Max pack is expected to have a 400-mile range before needing to charge. The automotive site Edmunds tested Rivian’s large pack battery and rated it at 317 miles before recharge.

Rivian also has planned a more modest battery package that has a smaller range as the large pack battery, though that has yet to develop. The deferral of smaller battery sizes is similar to a strategy employed by Tesla during production of its early vehicle models.

As of mid-December, Rivian had about 71,000 orders for the R1T and R1S SUV model in the U.S. and Canada.

“In setting our delivery timing, we optimized our build sequence around the build combination that would support us ramping as quickly as possible and therefore have the largest possible positive climate impact,” wrote Scaringe.

Rivian reported its first quarterly earnings results earlier this month when Scaringe outlined pressures on production, including chip shortages, other global supply chain limits, the pandemic, and a tight labor market.

Rivian also has announced it will build a second production facility in the Atlanta, Ga. area to add to the capacity at the plant in Normal, though the Georgia factory will not be available to boost deliveries until 2024 at the earliest.

So far, Rivian has delivered close to 400 vehicles. It continues to produce delivery vans for Amazon at the Normal plant, and is expected to begin production of the SUV early next year.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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