The Rivian R1T's powered tonneau cover is one of the most controversial parts of the electric truck. It's a great idea, but the execution lets it down as the feature doesn't always work as intended and tends to break down.
We've seen this issue being raised by owners and reviewers many times over in videos, including Out of Spec Reviews' Kyle Conner, who called it the worst design part of the truck after covering 10,000 miles in his Rivian R1T. In his video, Kyle showed how the power retractable tonneau cover made a clunking noise during operation and sometimes got hung up on the way in, making for an frustrating user experience.
Now, it looks like the company is taking action to rectify it. Rivian R1T reservation holders have begun receiving letters from the automaker informing them that production and installation of the powered tonneau cover will be halted on all future deliveries.
The EV maker is now offering customers the choice of a manual tonneau cover or no cover at all while it is working on upgrading the powered version, according to emails shared by several members of the Rivian Forums and Rivian Owners Forum. Rivian says it plans to re-introduce the feature later, but a date has not been set. The automaker has provided no pricing information either.
Gallery: 2022 Rivian R1T: First Drive Review
Many R1T reservation holders are wondering whether Rivian plans to offer the powered tonneau cover as an add-on after taking delivery. That's because the letter notes that customers who will opt to have no cover at all will have their R1T trucks delivered without integrated side rails starting in early 2023.
Reservation holders are also informed that their tonneau cover choice will not impact their delivery timing estimate that will be communicated later this month; customers also learn there is "little to no impact on range when the bed is empty."
In the email, Rivian says the manual tonneau cover is comprised of four interlocking panels constructed of a durable aluminum composite that slide in and out of the bed's integrated side rails. When not in use, the panels store in a cargo bag and fit in the Gear Tunnel. The manual tonneau cover is fully lockable and offers protection against light weather.
Check out the full email Rivian sent R1T reservation holders below.
"We recently shared with R1T owners that we are upgrading the powered tonneau cover. As we go through the process, we are removing the powered tonneau cover from production. We plan to re-introduce this feature later, but a date has not been set. For the foreseeable future, all R1Ts will come with either a manual tonneau cover or no tonneau cover.
Since you have selected a powered tonneau cover, your configuration will need to be updated to either a manual tonneau cover or no tonneau cover. It’s important to note this choice will not impact your delivery timing estimate coming later this month.
Our manual tonneau cover is comprised of four interlocking panels constructed of a durable aluminum composite that slide in and out of the bed’s integrated siderails. When not in use, the panels store in a cargo bag and fit easily in the Gear Tunnel. The manual tonneau cover is fully lockable and offers protection against light weather. If you are taking delivery soon, your panels will ship later. Our current estimate is early 2023. Photos and a full demonstration of the manual tonneau cover will be shared before then.
If you choose no tonneau cover, vehicles delivered in the next few months will include the integrated siderails in the bed. In early 2023, we will transition to a design without the integrated siderails. It’s worth noting that when driving an R1T with no tonneau cover, there is little to no impact on range when the bed is empty."