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Rivian announces another shipping delay but also some cool new software features

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Ocean Coast trim option is being pushed to the fall

Rivian R1S with new sand mode.
Image: Rivian

Rivian is experiencing a production issue with an interior trim option for its electric vehicles. Some reservation holders of the company’s R1T electric truck and R1S SUV received emails this week saying that the Ocean Coast trim is “more challenging to produce” and will be delayed to later this fall (via Electrek).

It’s not the best look given the email came the same day as rival Ford’s launch event of its electric Lightning truck, but Rivian does have some cool new software updates to share as well. The company announced that it’s working on OTA updates that will enable a dashcam feature, which will go nicely with its Gear Guard video security feature. There’s also an upcoming “pet mode” that keeps HVAC running for your dog while you grocery shop and a new sand mode that should let you drive on dunes and will be pushed as a standard feature.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe highlighted the new sand mode feature on Twitter, posting a new video of the R1S electric SUV riding around the desert. It showcases a slow-motion clip that lets you see the quad motors in action, spinning faster in the rear to keep the truck in motion.

The delay of the Ocean Coast trim, however, highlights early production realities where streamlining production must be prioritized. In this case, Rivian is focusing on building Launch Edition and Adventure Package trucks with Black Mountain and Forest Edge interior trims. Reservation holders who chose Ocean Coast trim will be contacted in late May if their delivery was estimated for 2022, giving them a chance to make changes that could prioritize delivery time.

Changing the priority of the trim selection may also affect the delivery times of Launch Edition and Adventure Package models. The latter could see earlier delivery times if the Ocean Coast trim wasn’t selected. From the email sent to reservation holders 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.

Production challenges like these aren’t unheard of. Tesla’s Model Y seven-seat configuration and the white trim options have had delayed deliveries in the past. Tesla sales reps even recommended changing configurations for earlier deliveries as well.

A lot is riding on the success of Rivian; electrifying the pickup truck segment is one of the big puzzle pieces to the success of EVs in the United States. The company made huge strides last year going public with one of the largest IPOs ever and finally made its first deliveries in September after some delays.

With news that Rivian delivered at least 1,000 vehicles in 2021, the company seems poised to hold its own against the 1,800 Ford F-150 Lightning trucks built so far. Despite the controversial price hike (and retraction) and the delay of the 400-mile Rivian truck, the company is already ahead of other pickup trucks like Tesla’s Cybertruck that’s been delayed to 2023 and the Chevy Silverado.