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5 Drawbacks of the Rivian R1S to Factor In

The Rivian R1S has stirred up immense excitement as a new electric SUV promising 300+ miles of range, luxury appointments, and serious off-road grit. However, its lofty price point and production ramp-up issues have left some shoppers questioning whether its downsides outweigh its strengths.

As an industry analyst focusing on EV tech and sustainability, I’ve taken a hard look at the R1S’s limitations alongside its capabilities. For shoppers balancing their wishlists against practical needs, here are 5 drawbacks of the Rivian R1S worth factoring into your buying decision:

1. One of the Most Expensive Electric SUV Options

With a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $78,000, the R1S is well above affordability range for mainstream SUV shoppers. For context, the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E starts at a more competitive $46,895, while the 5-seat Tesla Model Y Long Range is priced from $54,990.

Electric SUV Model Base MSRP
Rivian R1S $78,000
Ford Mustang Mach-E $46,895
Tesla Model Y Long Range (5 seat) $54,990

This places budget-focused buyers looking to embrace electrification in a difficult position of balancing their eco-values against their income constraints. And while Rivian‘s CEO has publicly addressed intentions to roll out more affordable models, price cuts or sub-$50k variants of the R1S appear improbable in the near future.

2. Wait Times of 9 Months…or More

Over 49,000 pre-orders flooded Rivian’s gates in 2021 per the EV maker’s IPO filings. However, chip shortages and supply chain issues have severely hampered the startup’s production rates. This has translated to massive wait times for preorder holders. By January 2023, reported wait times for new R1S orders spanned anywhere from 9 months to 2+ years.

This creates serious availability challenges if you’re itching to get your hands on Rivian‘s debut SUV in the immediate term. Whether needing to replace an aging family hauler or making the leap to electric, most shoppers don’t have the patience to park their buying journeys for years while inflation drives prices ever higher.

3. Slower Charging Compared to Competitors

The R1S’s 135 kWh battery pack delivers 300+ miles of EPA-rated driving but requires nearly an hour on DC fast chargers to replenish from 10% to 80%, the optimal charging range. This trails the 15-30 minute charging times of certain competitors offering similar driving range. Charging duration matters greatly for long trips.

Moreover, the R1S charges even slower on widely available Level 2 (240V) and Level 1 (120V) EVSE stations. You’ll wait around 6 hours on L2 and a painful 50+ hours on L1 to hit that 10%-80% threshold. This complicates overnight charging at home for daily commutes.

Charger Type 10%-80% Charge Time
DC Fast Charger 55 minutes
Level 2 Charger 6 hours
Level 1 Charger 50+ hours

Slower charging can become an inconvenience over years of ownership as new EVs enter the market charging faster. It risks the R1S feeling outdated sooner than expected for its premium price tag.

4. Key Infotainment Features Missing

Rivian prides themselves on a bespoke user interface and in-vehicle experience. However, their decision to eschew both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto may disappoint buyers desiring seamless smartphone integration. Going your own route on infotainment when industry giants have staked their flags comes with consumer expectation risks.

Additionally, Rivian’s in-house navigation pales in responsiveness and intuitiveness against leading options. Reviewers cite laggy map rendering and an interface less optimized than Google Maps. Subpar routing and predictive capabilities also need improvement via OTA updates.

These gaps will frustrate those accustomed to the rich features offered by CarPlay/Android Auto and Google Maps/Waze. Infotainment is an escape-worthy aspect for family trips.

5. Inadequate Cargo Space in Rear Rows

While total cargo volume behind the R1S’s front row measures an impressive 105.8 cubic feet, space shrinks rapidly as you fold down the rear bench and third row. In fact, behind the third row, you get just 17.6 cubic feet to work with. The Tesla Model X, by comparison, boasts a superior 88.8 cubic feet of storage behind its third row.

Vehicle Total Cargo Volume Cargo Volume Behind 3rd Row
Rivian R1S 105.8 cu ft 17.6 cu ft
Tesla Model X 88 cu ft 33 cu ft

For family road trips and adventuring, slim cubic footage behind rear seats seriously limits luggage and gear packing flexibility. This may become an immediate dealbreaker for shoppers valuing storage over autres aspects.

The Rivian R1S rightfully deserves praise for breakthrough innovations that challenge perceptions of what an electric adventure vehicle can offer. However, its staggering price, production bottlenecks, charging pace, missing features, and cargo limitations also raise questions for the pragmatic buyer.

Carefully examining the cons against the pros can empower shoppers to make discerning tradeoff decisions appropriate for their lifestyles. Test drives and comparison shopping help cut through the hype as well. For eco-minded drivers open to alternatives, compelling options like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Hyundai Ioniq 5 exist at far friendlier sticker prices too.

Ultimately, no vehicle excels evenly across every axis. But educating yourself on the R1S’s downsides helps set realistic expectations in case the waitlists entice you into joining the queue. Forewarned is forearmed when handing over deposits for one-of-a-kind EVs in an ever-evolving market.

What other drawbacks or advantages have you observed around the Rivian R1S? Share your thoughts in the comments below!