Will reengineered battery packs for Rivian R1S, R1T lower prices?

Rivian is developing a simplified battery-pack structure for its R1S electric SUV and R1T electric pickup truck, CFO Claire McDonough said in a recent interview.

Around the 14-minute mark in the roughly 40-minute interview, conducted during Barclays’ 2023 Global Automotive & Mobility Tech Conference (and first spotted by Electrek), McDonough discusses the new pack, mentioning a simplified pack and module structure that “takes thousands of dollars of cost out,” as well as reduce the mass of the pack and make manufacturing easier.

Stack of Rivian battery cells

Rivian already offers Standard, Large, and Max pack options—the latter delivering up to 410 miles of EPA range. Based on McDonough’s comments, it seems this new pack will focus more on reducing costs and allowing Rivian to further ramp up R1S and R1T production at its Normal, Illinois, factory rather than delivering yet more range.

But implementing the new pack and other planned changes could slow the production ramp in the short term. The introduction and ramp-up of additional R1S and R1T variants could impact production volumes in the second and third quarters of 2024, McDonough said.

Rivian battery pack

Rivian battery pack

Rivian has already integrated production of its Dual-Motor models alongside Quad-Motor variants. These models, which use Rivian’s new Enduro drive unit, boast the aforementioned 410 miles of range with the biggest Max pack, and up to 352 miles with the Large pack.

The company said in 2022 that the base Standard pack would include a “new pack architecture” with LFP battery cells rather than the other packs’ high-nickel NCA cells. This pack, which still hasn’t entered production, was to serve as the price leader in the lineup. But perhaps it will be undercut by newly reengineered packs with a simplified structure.

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