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Another sign that the future of EV buying is leasing: Rivian leases its $73,000 truck

Tom Carter   

Another sign that the future of EV buying is leasing: Rivian leases its $73,000 truck
  • Rivian has made its R1T electric pickup available to lease in 14 US states.
  • The Tesla rival is experimenting with new ways to attract customers.

Rivian has announced that drivers will be able to lease its flagship electric pickup as it braces for the arrival of Tesla's Cybertruck.

The EV startup has made its R1T truck available to lease in 14 US states, as it experiments with new methods to attract customers as the EV market shows signs of cooling and prepares for the looming launch of Elon Musk's much-anticipated pickup.

The program, which Rivian said launched Monday, is now available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

A company spokesperson told CNBC that Rivian was prioritizing areas where its vehicles were the most popular, and that the company intends to expand leasing to other areas in the future.

Would-be EV drivers have turned to leasing as a cheaper way to try before they buy, especially considering the high price of many electric vehicles.

Leasing helps to bring down that cost, with drivers who lease an EV potentially able to access the $7,500 federal tax credit offered by the Inflation Reduction Act — provided automakers pass this on.

Tesla and Ford, Rivian's main rivals, also offer the ability to lease their EVs, with Tesla recently lowering the monthly payments on the Model 3 and Model Y and Ford introducing flexible EV leases to Uber drivers as both seek to capitalize on the enthusiasm for leasing.

The move by Rivian comes as the company attempts to attract new customers ahead of the launch of by far its biggest challenger — Tesla's Cybertruck.

The EV startup has worked through problems with build quality and production headaches, and is now planning a more affordable R2 range in addition to its $73,000-plus R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV.

Rivian has even been able to win over some Tesla customers, with drivers telling Business Insider that they are turning in their Teslas for Rivians following Elon Musk's endorsement of an antisemitic post on X.

The Cybertruck, however, will pose a fresh challenge to Rivian's R1T pickup. The futuristic Tesla pickup is set to launch on November 30 after years of hype, with over 2 million people preordering the electric pickup.

Despite this, Rivian has been remarkably nonchalant about its new rival. CEO RJ Scaringe addressed the Cybertruck's distinctive style in an interview with GQ, saying that it was "cool" it existed but admitting that "personally, it's not something I would buy."

Rivian did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI, made outside normal working hours.