This article starts with a big "thank you" to our readers. We asked them to tell us their reservation numbers for the Rivian R1T, and R1S after a video from Detached Garage showed us how to obtain it. We thought we'd have a hard task getting the real amount of preorders, but that was spared thanks to Skyler Williams and John King. The answer is not 43: it is approximately 30,000, even if the reservation numbers are now around 56,000. How?
Williams was the person that discovered the method for getting the reservation order number. He posted it on a thread at RivianForums.com on July 28, 2020, and also on Facebook. King made some engaging projections based on the numbers they obtained from other forum members.
Williams made the graph below based on the reservation numbers he obtained.
The explanation for the real numbers is on something Williams observed from the numbers he managed to get: some jumps in the numbers that were not natural.
“The reservations jump from 20,000 to almost 40,000 between 12/22/19 and 12/26/19. No way it could have been legitimate. There was another 5,000 jump in May 2020 in a matter of just a few days. There's a chance these jumps were due to order ‘edits,’ but I am not certain of the exact cause. The interesting thing, and the reason I know the jumps are artificial, is that the numbers of the jumps correspond to the number of orders taken before them (i.e. 19,000 orders before Dec 2019, and 5,000 orders from Dec 2019 to May 2020). Definitely no coincidence.”
This graph already shows the corrected numbers:
The first people to reserve their Rivian cars were apprehensive because they would not be the very first to receive their EVs, but that may have to do with the Shopify reservation system.
“Rivian used Shopify for the preorders. It is standard for Shopify to start order numbers at 1,000.”
That makes Sean, from Detached Garage, be actually number 5,031 instead of 6,031, as he previously thought. Williams has a formula for the people who want to know where they are on the waiting list: if your preorder number is below 21,000, subtract 1,000; if it is above 21,000 and below 45,000, subtract 20,000. If it is above 50,000, subtract 25,000.
The 21,000 milestone was achieved before December 26, 2019. Numbers around 45,000 showed up by late May, and we are now at about 56,000. That explains the 30,000 preorders Williams believes Rivian has.
John King helped ease anxiety among reservation holders. He made timetables showing when the current reservations will get their cars based on the projected production of Rivian.
If it starts delivering the pickup truck by July 2021 and producing 20,000 per year, as promised, it will let everyone that order an R1T have their cars by August 2022, according to King's calculations. That happens because he works with a more precise number of preorders: 24,832. Williams is more careful and says his figures are based on big assumptions.
In another scenario, in which Rivian increases production by 1,000 units every six months, King predicts that all cars ordered so far will have been delivered by April 2022, as the inferior part of the image above shows.
King made another graph that shows the progress of the reservations related to the investments Rivian received. Check it below:
There is no separate number for the R1S. Of the 17 messages we have received with Rivian reservation numbers, 5 were for the electric SUV, and the numbers were similar to those the R1T preorders present, which tell us Rivian is not separating them. The most recent reservation for the R1S was above 55,000, just like the R1T preorders.
It would be nice to check the proportion of R1S clients compared to R1T customers, but only Rivian would be able to clarify all this in the most precise way possible. The question is if the company is willing to do that, especially when you compare the 30,000 reservations for the Rivian R1T/R1S with the more than 600,000 Tesla Cybertruck preorders we last reported.
If that is 20 times as much, the reservation fee for the Rivian vehicles is also 10 times higher, which is a factor to consider. The 30,000 people that decided to give Rivian $1,000 may be more confident of their decision than all the people that placed $100 for the Cybertruck. On the other hand, Rivian reservation holders can have their $1,000 back at any time. Cybertruck prospective clients either buy the electric pickup truck or say goodbye to their 100 bucks.
We have contacted Rivian to get the exact number of reservations. We also want to check if it can disclose how many are for the R1T and how many for the R1S. We'll keep you posted if the company is willing to talk.