Rivian’s Second-gen R1S and R1T Offer Better Performance and Semi-Autonomous Driving

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Key Takeaways

  • Rivian has introduced the second-generation R1S and R1T
  • They offer more powerful motors, improved driving aids, and a Connect+ service.
  • Pricing starts at $69,900 for the R1T, and $75,900 for the R1S.

Rivian has unveiled the second-generation R1S and R1T, both of which promise more power, improved semi-autonomous driving tech — and lower costs for the company.

The electric SUV and pickup are visually similar to their predecessors, but have numerous internal upgrades. The underlying R1 platform now has more power thanks to a completely in-house motor design. A quad-motor R1T delivers 1,025HP, making the truck fast enough to hit 60MPH in 2.5 seconds.

The Large and Max batteries have also been reworked to make them easier to produce and service while offering a peak 420-mile range, while a new Standard battery uses cheaper lithium-ion phosphate and manages 270 miles per charge. There’s also a tri-motor option that, paired with the Max battery, hits 60MPH in 2.9 seconds and provides up to 380 miles of range.

Rivian also claimed the new R1S and R1T will eke out more range through refined components. The new heat pump is both more comfortable and efficient, while fresh 22-inch wheels and tires reduce drag.

Semi-autonomous driving has also taken a significant step forward, Rivian claimed. A new Rivian Autonomy Platform comes standard and includes 10 times the previous computing power, eight times the camera resolution, and complete visibility with redundant sensors. Features like Highway Assist and Blind Spot Monitoring should be more effective, even at night and in rough weather.

Customers willing to pay for an upgraded Rivian Autonomous Platform+ will get a stalk-activated Lane Change on Command feature now and an Enhanced Highway Assist feature later in 2024.

Other upgrades bring digital car key support on iPhones and some Google Pixel phones, a new available sound system with Dolby Atmos spatial audio, and a Connect+ subscription that provides 3,000 apps, Google Cast support, and tight Apple Music integration. Spotify and Tidal are also available.

Rivian was also quick to acknowledge the lower production costs. On top of the refined batteries, there’s a much simplified ECU system that uses just seven computers and 1.6 miles less wiring. The net result is something that’s both more affordable to make and more eco-friendly, with an estimated 15% lower carbon footprint over the usable lifespan of the EVs.

Prices will be somewhat familiar. The R1T starts at $69,900, while the R1S costs $75,900. The tri-motor, Max battery combo begins at $99,900 for the R1T and $105,900 for an R1S. Quad-motor pricing wasn’t available at the time of writing, but orders are available immediately.

Rivian might not have had much choice but to revamp the R1S and R1T. The company said it lost about $38,784 per car that reached a customer in the first quarter of the year.  Lower production costs could help shrink those losses and give Rivian more time in its quest to turn a profit.

The automaker also isn’t expected to ship its true mass-market EV, the R2, until 2026. A refreshed R1 series could rejuvenate interest and even spark demand for the R2 as well as its compact R3 counterpart.