Over-the-air software and firmware updates have the potential to remedy issues, add features, or just simply make a vehicle better.
So far Rivian’s already managed all of the above with its R1T electric pickup and R1S electric SUV. With an update this week Rivian has improved the cold-weather livability of its trucks with several new features; and with recent updates plus some paperwork filed with the government, it’s boosted the actual EPA range ratings of its trucks.
Collectively through previous over-the-air updates, Rivian says that it has improved its vehicle efficiency since the R1T and R1S first underwent EPA testing enough to warrant a retest. It’s added incremental range through improved power management for auxiliary loads, a modified ride-height strategy for the suspension, improved battery management and charging, and improved energy recuperation. And separately, while physical battery packs have maintained the same total capacity, Rivian has increased the usable capacity.
2023 Rivian R1S
According to Rivian, the official EPA range ratings in quad-motor, Large pack form, with 21-inch road wheels, now stand at 328 miles for the R1T and 321 miles for the R1S—up from 314 and 316 miles, respectively. Those improved ratings aren’t yet listed on the EPA’s site, but Rivian does confirm them in its build tool.
With Rivian’s latest update—2022.47.00, issued Monday—it also confirms improved battery longevity, durability, and regenerative braking performance, with enhanced brake regen for longer durations.
Rivian Snow mode
It is especially the season, though, for the new dedicated drive mode added with this latest update: Snow mode.
“Snow mode makes driving in snowy, slushy or icy on-road conditions easier by softening the way your R1 speeds up and slows down,” states Rivian.
Specifically, it dials in softer accelerator response, different settings for the traction system, and a low brake-regeneration setting that’s exclusive to this mode. It also “creates a more seamless transition to the auto hold function for more controlled stops when driving on snowy, slushy, or icy on-road conditions,” Rivian says.
“Snow mode is meant solely for driving on roads and highways and is not meant for off-road scenarios,” explains the company. “We recommend using the Off-Road All-Terrain drive mode for snowy off-road adventures.”
Rivian app – remote/preconditioning features
Additionally, the Rivian app (version 1.9 and later) now includes some winter-weather must-haves for EV drivers: remote cabin preconditioning, including remote defrosting/deicing of windows and mirrors, plus the ability to turn on individual seat heaters and steering-wheel heating remotely. All of these are items that will help provide a toasty vehicle before heading out on a trip, and help preserve battery energy for the trip itself.