Rivian Chief Financial Officer Claire McDonough has announced a new battery pack is coming on the R1S and R1T next year.
In an interview with Barclays’ Dan Levy (via Electrek), the executive said Rivian is planning to launch a new battery on R1 vehicles in 2024—in addition to the Standard battery pack that’s also coming next year. This may be a battery Rivian hasn’t mentioned before.
“And then we’re introducing a new battery pack as well for the R1 vehicles. And that very heavily simplifies the battery pack and module structure that we’ll be building and takes thousands of dollars of costs out, additional mass out, much easier to manufacture and build as well, within the vehicles,” McDonough said.
“So that’s another example of some of the new technologies that will be coming into place next year that is a key enabler for operational efficiency and cost efficiency that will get unlocked with these introductions.”
This new battery seems a pretty big deal as McDonough’s comments seem to suggest the pack will not only be much cheaper to make but also lighter and easier to assemble than any of Rivian’s current battery packs.
This sounds pretty promising, especially if the new battery will be cheaper to make than the upcoming Standard battery, which will arrive next year on the R1S and R1T and will enable a starting selling price “in the low $70,000 area.” Rivian’s CFO said the Standard pack will therefore “open up a larger addressable market of consumers for R1 vehicles.”
Putting two and two together, the new simplified battery pack might allow Rivian to lower the starting price of R1 vehicles below the $70,000 threshold. That would be great news for the company and prospective customers, and if we factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit, a getting a Rivian R1S or R1T for around $60,000 seems entirely possible.
Claire McDonough also said Rivian’s assembly lines will stop for several weeks in the second quarter of 2024 to prepare for the introduction of the new batteries and configurations on R1 vehicles. Interestingly, she mentioned that Rivian will be introducing “three battery packs, two different drive units, and a brand new network architecture.”
It sounds like the cheaper battery pack may replace one of the three known packs—Standard, Large, and Max—but that’s just speculation for now. We’ll probably learn more about Rivian’s battery lineup early next year before the new configurations are gradually implemented into production.