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Rivian will start under expected $69,000 price — Cybertruck effect in action?

The upcoming Rivian R1T pickup and R1S SUV will be cheaper than previously expected. The R1T was originally announced with a $69,000 base price (and the R1S SUV at $72,000).

Rivian now says that $69,000 will be the price for a “well-equipped vehicle,” and that base model pricing will actually be lower than that.

We reached out to Rivian in response to a Reuters report on the topic, and they responded to us with this statement:

Hi Jamie, our original listed prices represent a well-equipped vehicle. We’ll be releasing more details about pricing soon.

Reuters reported that Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said the $69,000 price will actually be for a “mid-range pickup truck with glass sky panel” and a range of about 300 miles.

So we do not yet know the adjusted base pricing for the Rivian R1T and R1S, but we know that it will be cheaper than the $69,000 price Rivian originally announced.

The R1T has three battery pack options, with the mid-range 135kWh battery being good for around 300 miles of range.  The base model will have a 105kWh battery and around 230 miles of range.

We don’t know what other options the “well-equipped” mid-range $69,000 truck includes, but it seems likely, between the large battery pack upgrade, glass roof, and additional possible options, that the base model R1T could be several thousand dollars cheaper.

If all that adds up to $10,000 of options, then after state and federal incentives (which can be $10,000+ in some areas), a new base model Rivian could net out to less than $50,000 all-told.  This would be quite impressive and even more disruptive than we originally thought.

When the Rivian was first unveiled at the 2018 LA Auto Show, it was the only fully electric pickup truck that had yet been revealed. We said at the time that the Rivian’s specs were unbelievable.

It’s fair to say that Rivian stole the show with the most impressive vehicles unveiled that year in LA. The Rivian booth with its two prototypes was crowded for the entire duration of the show, while the adjacent Ford booth, filled with F-150s, felt like a ghost town.

Since then, Rivian’s offering has only gotten more and more exciting, with a slow drip of information about cool features their truck and SUV will have.  Between camper mode with a pull-out mobile kitchen, removable auxiliary batteries, a proposed modular bed system, and the ability to literally spin in place, it seems like Rivian has a lot of cool ideas in store for us.

All this excitement has netted Rivian a lot of interest from other companies. They’ve raised several billion dollars from the likes of Ford, Amazon, and a large Tesla investor. They’re planning to build an electric SUV for Lincoln and a huge delivery van order for Amazon.

So things are looking up for Rivian. But then the new kid came to town.

Two months ago, Tesla’s Cybertruck was unveiled with the impressive base price of $39,900, giving electric pickup buyers a cheaper alternative. There were immediate comparisons between the two, with Tesla showing a big advantage on cost. But surveys of prospective buyers still put them neck-and-neck in terms of public interest.

This is actually quite impressive for Rivian, given that they have not yet produced any vehicles, and that public awareness of Tesla is so high with Cybertruck being particularly viral (and inspiring a lot of copycats).  Yet Rivian is attracting as much interest as Tesla, Ford, and GM in the aforementioned survey. Tesla is also a more experienced manufacturer than Rivian, and the Cybertruck’s design is cheaper to manufacture, both of which would affect the comparative prices between the two.

This price differential may have influenced Rivian’s new announcement of base pricing. While Rivian’s original announcement explicitly said that “the R1T starts at $61,500 after Federal Tax credit” (so $69k before), Rivian is now claiming that this price is for a “well-equipped” vehicle.

It seems likely that Cybertruck’s exceptionally low entry price influenced that change. That said, Tesla no longer has access to federal tax credits, which gives Rivian a $7,500 leg up against the Cybertruck.

Plus, Rivian has attracted so much investment and new projects that they can probably afford to take a little less profit on their first truck, knowing they have plenty of capital to spare and more revenues coming down the pipe in the future.

All this said, Rivian isn’t just competing against the Cybertruck. In fact, since it was introduced before any other electric pickup, Rivian should be thought of as competing more against established gas pickup brands.

Rivian is targeting the “adventure truck” market, looking for buyers who use their trucks for off-roading and camping. This market tends to have more upscale buyers and lower total unit sales, which is an easier market to address for a startup than, say, fleet truck sales.  And these adventure trucks can cost almost $90,000, especially if aftermarket upgrades are taken into account.

The fact that competing high-end trucks routinely sell for 70-90k gives Rivian a lot of room for options, upgrades, and aftermarket add-ons if their base price ends up being in the ~$50k after-incentive range we hope to see.

Rivian is taking $1,000 preorders for their R1T and R1S vehicles. The company has declined to release pre-order numbers, simply saying that reaction is “really positive.”  But due to impressive pre-order numbers, Rivian has warned that “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.” First deliveries should happen at the end of this year, though highly optioned vehicles will be the first out the factory gate.

We’ve been told that we’ll learn more about Rivian pricing and options “soon,” so stay tuned for more news on this topic.

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Avatar for Jameson Dow Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for since 2016.

You can contact him at