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Rivian eliminates less-expensive version of its electric pickup

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By Mike Murphy

Electric-vehicle maker Rivian Automotive Inc. is discontinuing the lowest-priced option for its R1T pickup truck, effectively raising the entry price by about $5,500.

According to an email from Rivian obtained by MarketWatch, the company told customers who pre-ordered the $67,500 Explore package they will need to either upgrade to the $73,000 Adventure package or cancel their pre-order.

In an email Thursday night, Rivian confirmed the R1T entry-level option was being discontinued, as was the lower-priced version of the R1S SUV, which now has a starting price of $78,000, up from $70,000 prior to March 2, and $72,500 since March 2.

The company said that by discontinuing the two options, “we’re able to streamline our operations, simplify our supply chain and ramp production.”

According to the letter to customers, which was also posted on a Rivian owners online forum , Rivian said the lower-priced package didn’t generate enough interest. “The Explore Package was designed as our entry option and it was our expectation that a large number of customers would choose it. To date, only a small percentage of customers have chosen this configuration, with the vast majority selecting the Adventure trim,” the letter reportedly said.

Rivian said customers have until Sept. 1 to either reconfigure their order or cancel it. Those who cancel will get their deposit refunded.

In March, Rivian announced a roughly 20% price hike to both its pickup and SUV, but quickly reversed course after backlash from customers, and said it would honor prices on existing pre-orders.

Earlier this month, Rivian reported a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss , and maintained its goal of producing 25,000 vehicles by the end of the year, after making 4,400 in the second quarter.

Rivian had about 98,000 pre-orders for its electric pickups and SUVs as of June 30, according to its letter to shareholders in July. Production has been slow to ramp up due to supply-chain difficulties, the company said at the time.

Rivian shares have gained 21% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.72% 10% decline.

This report has been updated with comment from Rivian.

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