Rivian has taken two popular features for its R1T pickup out of rotation. The powered tonneau cover is being redesigned to address problems, the Camp Kitchen and Gear Tunnel Shuttle are being redesigned for unknown reasons. Starting with the tonneau cover, it's an aluminum panel that slides along the integrated bed rails. Owner complaints about the cover not opening completely and noisy or jerky operation prompted an investigation that found a flawed subcomponent. Rivian told owners it needed to rework the component in a way that “improves the tonneau cover's robustness against manufacturing build variations.” The automaker doesn't know when the engineering job will be complete warning interested parties, “For foreseeable future, all R1Ts will be built with either a manual tonneau cover or no tonneau cover.”
New shoppers aren't so much affected. They can choose no bed cover or the manual cover, or wait for the powered tonneau to return. That manual unit is four interlocking aluminum and composite panels that slide into the integrated bed rails, can be locked, and protect “against light weather.” When not in use, they fit in a carry bag and stow in the gear tunnel between the cab and the bed. It seems these are in short supply, however, Rivian saying the manual tonneau panels aren't expected to be available until early 2023.
Buyers who haven't taken delivery are stuck with unsavory options. Those who ordered the powered cover will have the powered option removed. The insult salting the injury is that the powered tonneau can't be added later, so buyers need to choose the manual cover or go with no cover. For Launch Edition buyers, switching to the manual cover cuts their truck price by $700, omitting any cover cuts the bill by $1,500. Rivian doesn't mention a lower price for trucks with the Adventure Package.
The carmaker's support page explaining the situation says “In early 2023, we will transition to a design without the integrated siderails.” That could explain why the powered tonneau can't be added later. It could also mean a partially redesigned bed is on the way, or Rivian plans to make side rails an upgrade, or something else. We'll find out next year when the updated trucks arrive. The company says R1T delivery times will not be affected by any of this.
As for the Camp Kitchen, it doesn't appear to be flawed in a way customers have noticed. All Rivian will say about the production pause is that its in-house team “continued testing Camp Kitchen in various environments [and] found opportunities to refine the design and make our version of cooking in the wild even better.” The company's Gear Shop used to sell the Camp Kitchen x Snow Peak Package for $5,000, which included the kitchen, the Gear Tunnel Shuttle slide-out platform the kitchen sits on, and the integrated 30-piece Snow Peak cooking and dishware set.
What's arguably even stranger about Rivian removing this feature is that owners weren't complaining about it. At least the Camp Kitchen can be added at a later date, although we suspect the kitchen and shuttle are going to be more expensive when they come back. The support page answers a question about the future cost with, “We’ll share pricing details once we’ve finalized design updates,” and worse, answers a question about price protection for those who ordered the first version with, “We'll share details once we've finalized the Camp Kitchen redesign and set new pricing.”