The Rivian R1S is the next big thing from Rivian, the all-electric startup that seems keen to replicate Tesla’s success. In fact, of all the new automakers looking to replicate that success, Rivian looks the most promising. Founded in 2009 and based in Irvine, Calif., Rivian has developed a skateboard chassis that will form the basis of its first two electric vehicles.
The Rivian R1T electric truck is already starting to hit the streets, beating competitors like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Tesla Cybertruck to the punch. But its ambitions aren’t limited to an all-electric pickup, which is why a sportier SUV is on the way. Here’s everything you need to know about the Rivian R1S.
Rivian R1S: price and availability
The R1S currently starts at $70,000 for the Explorer package, while the Adventure package costs $75,500. Both are available to pre-order now with a $1,000 deposit, but the fully loaded Launch Edition (also $75,500) is sold out.
Rivian customers were told in late 2021 that their cars would start arriving from March, although the majority of the first wave of deliveries are expected in the summer and fall of 2022.
Rivian R1S: performance and autonomy
Rivian claims the R1S can sprint to 60 mph in a supercar-matching 3.0 seconds, and the large battery (the only size option available right now) has an EPA-estimated range of 316 miles. That’s about the same as the R1T truck, which has the same 0-60 time and a range of 314 miles.
While both of those stats are impressive, Rivian is keen to point out the R1S’s capabilities as an all-terrain SUV. It can tow up to 7,700 pounds, for example, and has a paddling depth of over three feet. Both figures put it broadly on par with the current generation Land Rover Defender.
There’s also 14.9 inches of ground clearance, and Rivian sells the R1S with three tire choices, including off-road, road and sport.
The R1S can charge up to 190kW, which is impressive but falls short of some of the fastest cars on sale today, like the 270kW Porsche Taycan. Rivian says this will increase on future models to 200kW and even 300kW in the future.
A nifty trick of Rivian vehicles is how they can be towed. Only intended for emergencies, the car can be hooked up to a towing vehicle, such as a semi-trailer, and pulled forward. The gear selector should be in reverse and light pressure should be applied to the accelerator pedal. This allows kinetic energy to be injected into the battery.
Following in Tesla’s footsteps, Rivian is also building its own high-speed charging network. So instead of relying entirely on the inconsistent public networks, Rivian owners will have access to the company’s own chargers. Initially, these chargers will be exclusive, although they will open up to non-Rivian cars in the near future.
Rivian plans to expand its network covering much of the United States and Canada with 200 kW chargers by 2023; the plan is to then increase their speed to 300kW.
Rivian R1S: Design
The R1S is powered by Rivian’s four-motor drivetrain. Unlike the one-, two- and three-motor setups of most other electric cars, Rivian’s system means the power delivered to each wheel can be precisely controlled and adjusted.
This promises to give the Rivian R1S impressive off-road capability, with torque vectoring used to dial in understeer and oversteer, keeping the vehicle in control on and off road, or when driving in snow.
Comparing its drivetrain to more conventional off-road setups, Rivian says its four-motor platform offers “significantly better torque control than locking differentials, and they’re instantly adjustable for all conditions.”
The front axle is powered by a 415 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque drive unit, while the rear is slightly more powerful, with 420 hp and 495 lb-ft.
The Rivian platform also features independent air suspension with six inches of vertical adjustment, lowering the car to improve aerodynamics on the highway and raising to gain additional ground clearance off-road.
The system can also adjust to help level the R1S when towing. Additionally, the vehicle monitors the road and driver inputs every five milliseconds, then adjusts the suspension accordingly.
Rivian R1S: Interior
The R1S has a seven-seat interior spread across three rows. The dash features a large landscape-oriented touchscreen, complete with LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, wireless charging, up to eight USB ports, three 12V outlets and two 120V outlets. Alexa voice assistant is also part of the of the Rivian operating system, and the optional Rivian Elevation audio system is provided by Meridian.
There’s also a large panoramic glass roof, and Rivian says an optional removable roof for outdoor exploration will be offered in mid-2022. The seats are crafted from vegan faux leather, while buyers can also choose between different design packages offering wood or matte surfaces.
The R1S is available in five or seven seat combinations, but like any good SUV, those rear rows of seats can be folded completely flat. According to Rivian, that means you can have up to 104 cubic feet of storage space. This space includes the front trunk, the traditional trunk/cargo area, a rear storage bin and additional compartments under the seats and center console.
Rivian R1S: Autonomous driving
Just like Tesla with its Autopilot, Rivisian is developing Driver+. Fitted as standard on every Rivian vehicle, Driver+ is an advanced hands-free driver assistance system that provides Level 2 autonomous driving functionality, i.e. the car is able to control the direction and direction. acceleration at the same time. However, Rivian is careful not to label the technology as “autonomous” because Level 2 is still a long way from full driverless autonomy.
The Driver+ system uses 11 cameras, five radars and 12 ultrasonic sensors to capture a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings, as well as an interior camera to monitor driver alertness.
Highway assist controls steering, braking and acceleration on certain highways, while lane change assist can help you change lanes more easily. Adaptive cruise control is also available to control your car’s speed and distance, but not the direction.
There are also features like automatic emergency braking, lane keeping to prevent you from accidentally drifting out of the lane, park assist and alerts when vehicles are in your blind spot. Rivian promises that more functions will be added with future over-the-air software updates.
Rivian likes to imagine its customers taking their vehicles on off-road adventures. To that end, the company sells roof racks for carrying items like surfboards, and there’s even a rooftop tent for camping on your car.
On top of that, the automaker is selling the $2,000 Off-Road Upgrade Pack, which incorporates a reinforced underbody shield to the front of the R1S, and a pair of front-mounted tow hooks, for helping drivers get out of trouble when off-roading.
Rivian R1S vs. Rivian R1T: What’s the difference?
Rivian releases the R1T slightly before the R1S, but the two vehicles are very similar. In fact, Rivian said in 2018 that the two cars share 91% of their components. In reality, the only major difference is how the R1S is a conventional SUV, while the R1T is a truck – with a cargo area behind the cabin.
This different design gives the R1T seating for five occupants in two rows, while the R1S has seven seats in three rows. Meanwhile, specs, at least on entry-level configurations, aren’t too different. Both vehicles have a 0-60 time of 3.0 seconds, while the R1S’ 316-mile range is only two miles longer than its sibling.
Priced at $67,500, the R1T entered production in late 2021, while the R1S, which starts at $70,000, is expected later in 2022.
Rivian R1S: Conclusion
Rivian has already proven itself to be a serious force in the world of electric vehicles. Not only was he able to launch the first full-scale electric truck in the United States, but he clearly has no intention of stopping there.
In fact, the company already has thousands of pre-orders, has tripled its employee base during 2021, and is expected to produce 10,000 electric delivery trucks at Amazon before the end of 2022. The Rivian R1S is just the next installment. of what is probably a very long term plan.
So far, the Rivian R1S ticks a lot of the same boxes as the R1T, which makes sense given the differences are mostly profound. And that’s not a bad thing, considering the overwhelmingly positive reception of the R1T so far. Only time will tell if the R1S will be considered one of the best electric cars, but so far so good.