Rivian updates R1 with new motors and batteries for improved performance and lower costs

Rivian (RIVN) has revealed its updated R1 pickup and SUV, with improved features and new drivetrains aimed at making its electric vehicles cheaper to build.

The R1T pickup and R1S SUV retain their distinctive exterior design. Most changes are made under the hood as well as with software. The most significant changes concern its electric propulsion units; the Rivian-built dual motor remains the base configuration, but now the electric vehicle maker also offers its own motors for a new three-motor configuration as well as the top-of-the-line quad-motor drivetrain.

The electric drive units for the previous quad-motor configuration came from German supplier Bosch; the motors for this and the new three-motor configuration will now be built by Rivian. The company says the quad-motor R1T now offers 1,025 horsepower and a 0-60 mph time of 2.5 seconds. The previous version equipped with Bosch motors had an output of 835 hp and could reach 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds.

New Rivian R1S SUV (credit: Rivian) (Rivien)

“We continue to evolve our flagship R1 vehicles, delivering quality and performance without compromise. Our revamped R1S and R1T push technical boundaries even further, creating our most capable products to date,” said RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian , in a press release.

Rivian also said its large and maximum batteries feature redesigned modules and new “more efficient” packaging, which the company says makes them easier to manufacture and maintain and offers up to 420 miles of autonomy, an increase of 10 miles.

Rivian also offers new battery chemistry with a cheaper standard lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, with an EPA-estimated range of 270 miles. Rivian also offers a heat pump, which aims to cool and heat the vehicle more efficiently.

New Rivian R1 battery (credit: Rivian) (Rivien)

On the software and autonomy side, the company now offers an improved autonomous driving system with 11 cameras, five radar sensors and “AI prediction technology”. Rivian said the system’s computing module is 10 times more powerful than before.

The company is also reducing the number of control units, removing 1.6 miles of cabling.

Rivian said the entry-level dual-motor R1T will start at $69,900 and the R1S will start at $75,900. The three-motor maximum battery configurations will cost $99,900 and $105,900, respectively, with pricing for four motors expected later.

New Rivian R1T and R1S (credit: Rivian) (Rivien)

Nearly three years after delivering its first R1T pickup, the time had come for Rivian to conduct a mid-cycle refresh of its sole product, typically done every three to four years in the automotive world.

The changes in performance and feature set will likely be welcomed by Rivian customers; However, most important to the company is the improvement in cost and bill of materials for building these vehicles. Rivian closed its Normal, Illinois, factory for four weeks to improve its processes and build the architecture needed to manufacture the new R1 vehicles.

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