It is not the best time to be a Rivian preorder holder as the automaker has announced another shipping delay. However, it is not all gloom as the startup announced some nice new software features.
Rivian will forever remain the first company to deliver an electric pickup truck. However, the company has been struggling to fulfill orders since then. It has sent out emails to expectant customers saying they would wait longer to get their EVs.
The delay affects people who booked the Ocean Coast trim of R1T and R1S. Rivian said the trim is more challenging to produce, and it would start to arrive this year by fall.
This negative news comes around the same time Ford started delivering its F-150 Lightning, meaning there will be some Rivian executives anxiously following automotive news today.
However, delays are some of the ugly realities of running an electric car company. Rivian has had to prioritize the trims, and it is focusing on the Launch Edition and Adventure Package versions. It also has to make the Black Mountain and Forest Edge interior options.
Reproduced below is the email Rivian sent to preorder holders, obtained via Electrek:
“Building in few build combinations reduces complexity with our suppliers and in the plant and allows us to build a greater number of vehicles. This updated approach also means we’ll see Adventure Package vehicles rolling off the line alongside Launch Edition vehicles over the next few months. While these ramp-optimized build plans may affect some people’s delivery timing — moving some up and some back — this will enable us to deliver as many vehicles as quickly as possible. In the coming weeks, we will email updated delivery estimates to all preorder holders.
“For preorder holders with a delivery window in 2022, we will be reaching out in late May to gauge your preferences and help further inform our build combinations. If you’re flexible on certain options, you may be able to take delivery sooner. If you love your original configuration and prefer to stick with it, then no action is required on your part — we’ll simply continue to update you on your estimated delivery timing.
“We ask those preorder holders with a 2023 (or later) delivery window to sit tight for now but know that we intend to provide you with more clarity this summer as well.”
It is not only Rivian struggling to build electric cars. Lucid Motors has cut production projections thanks to supply chain issues. Tesla has also coped with shutting down its plants in China due to the resurgence in Covid-19 cases.
However, to dull the pain of the delay a bit, Rivian is announcing a new driving mode for navigating sandy roads or environments. You will be able to coast down or up sand dunes easier. Rivian said the feature would come standard on every trim.
CEO of Rivian RJ Scaringe posted a video on Twitter showing the new sand mode in action. The R1S can be seen maneuvering in the sand with an American flag dancing in the wind. The rear tires spin faster, helping to keep the car from stopping. That is thanks to the one-motor-per-wheel drivetrain.
The sand mode will arrive with an over-the-air update.
Other updates include a pet mode that regulates the climate when you keep your pet in the cabin while rushing to do something else. This is reminiscent of Dog Mode offered by Tesla. Many pets die of heat when left in the car by their owners with the windows shut. It is nice to see Rivian paying attention to detail this way.
Rivian is also adding a dashcam feature that will let you record footage.