Two Ways To Look at Rivian’s Decision To Cancel Its Cheapest Electric Vehicle

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Two Ways To Look at Rivian’s Decision To Cancel Its Cheapest Electric Vehicle
Photo Courtesy of Rivian

In a letter yesterday to customers who've preordered the vehicles, Irvine-based EV startup Rivian gave notice that it will no longer offer the most affordable versions of its electric vehicles.

The “Explore Package” was to be the entry-level version (or “trim” as it’s called) of Rivian's R1T electric truck. Though the base model had yet to hit the market, it was slated to cost $67,500. Now, buyers—even those who preordered—will have to shell out at least $73,000 for the next trim up, the “Adventure Package.”


The upscaled version of the truck has better speakers, better seats, some interior options and off-road upgrades like tow hooks and floor mats. The battery remains unchanged.

Rivian says it made the decision to axe the entry level due to limited interest in the offering and a desire to streamline production. The company says the move will allow it to build more vehicles more quickly. Rivian is less vo al about this move will allow it to charge an extra $6.5k for each Explorer trim car it converts to Adventure. While some of that cost is assuredly due to the upgraded components, it’s no secret car manufacturers typically make the best margins on their high-end offerings.

There are two ways to view this move:

1. It’s undoubtedly a smart business move from Rivian. Streamlining production is essential if the fledgling company is going to hit the 25,000 vehicle production target that it recently reaffirmed in its Q2 earnings call. It’s probably good news for investors as well. The company may lose a few preorders from customers who were set on the $67.5k price point, but Rivian is already building as many cars as it possibly can every day, so anything that increases vehicle price increases how much revenue Rivian makes. The company has to survive until its new plant opens and production on its more affordable R2 model can get underway. Any move that ensures survival in the short term is a good long-term play.

2. The decision is a big middle finger to customers and shows Rivian hasn’t learned its lesson from last spring, when it incited buyer's rage by reneging on the cost of its trucks. It also adds to the growing list of ridiculously expensive EVs that are aimed at the very wealthy, leaving middle class would-be EV buyers up a creek. The new price hike also puts the majority of Rivian’s models outside the $80,000 price cap for the Inflation Reduction Act rebate. For all the company’s commitment to sustainability and vegan leather, wouldn’t it just be better for the environment to get cheaper cars into the hands of everyday people at a lower price point?

The truth, as usual, is probably somewhere in the middle. You can’t build a fleet of Earth-saving electric vehicles if you can’t stay in business. Then again, if your Earth-saving vehicle has to cost $73,000, you’re not saving anything except for the conscience of a few rich people.

Fingers crossed for that R2 though.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually
Photo courtesy of AmazeVR

Virtual reality startup AmazeVR now has $17 million to further expand its VR concert experience.

The West Hollywood-based company’s latest funding amounts to a bet that virtual shows, a staple of the pandemic, are here to stay. Mirae Asset Capital led the Series B funding round, with Mirae Asset Financial Group subsidiary (Mirae Asset Venture Investment), CJ Investment, Smilegate Investment, GS Futures and LG Technology Ventures investing again. Mobile game maker Krafton joined the group—but South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM’s stake reveals AmazeVR’s plans to expand into K-pop world.

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