Rivian R1S and R1T production updates for 2021

Both the R1S, the R1T even the Rivian brand itself are newcomers in the electric truck and SUV marketplace. The company says it’ll start delivering to customers in June 2021. It kicks off with a Launch Edition that starts at $77,500, but a more affordable Explore trim level will join the lineup (presumably as a 2022 model) in January of that year. The R1S and R1T will be sold directly to consumers, and Rivian says that it also will set up a network of service centers and Tesla-like stores.

Rivian is already in the pre-production phase of its electric adventure truck, the Rivian R1T, and its electric adventure sibling the R1S SUV. This is the phase where minor tweaks and fixes are done to make sure production is as easy as possible, checking panel gaps and paintwork to make sure things look as good as they possibly can.

These pre-production vehicles will be used for final testing, and won’t be sold to customers. Rivian doesn’t expect to start deliveries of the R1T in June 2021, with the R1S SUV version following in August 2021.

This is a roundup of the 2021 production Rivian has made for the R1S and R1T.

Back gate redesign

This feature is specifically for the SUV, the R1S because it’s the model between the two with a back gate. The design of the upper part of the back liftgate has changed to where it lifts up with part of the back standing frame. The redesign is not just done to ease production but it’s also a clever detail Rivian has added to the car. The redesign is done to increase the breadth of the opening in the back to ease putting larger objects in the back. It’s a small detail that many will appreciate. Not that the car is not big, it’s massive already, also the size of a full-sized SUV. This segways us into the next update for the R1S

Dimensions

rivian dimensions updates

A careful look at the latest R1S preproduction car Rivian showed off a few weeks ago with that incredible Rivian blue color, we find that the dimensions of the car have increased. Right off the bat, the back window of the third-row seat looks to be longer length-wise and also a bit shorter height-wise than the prototypes. We did measurements, using the 22-inch tires as a reference, and saw that the rear window looks to be about 2 inches longer and 1.5 inches shorter than in the prototypes. These updates to the dimensions reverberates through the whole car. We can see that the car is also longer and is very noticeable at its tail or departure angle. There are a few more inches there. When the specs first came out for the R1S, the length was 198.5 inches then it went up to 200.7 and now the current spec of the overall length of the R1S is 202. The roofline has also been lowered a little bit. These dimensions’ update gives the car a very authoritative and strong stance and we really like it.

Turn signal light

Rivian R1S and R1T production updates for 2021

On the prototypes of the R1T pickup truck, Rivian used the very unique Rivian light bar for the turn signals of the car. Rivian has changed that from the daytime running lights to just the stadium light and the mirror marker as well being the turn signal lights. This particular feature update has sparked up opinions amongst fans and also concerns if the position of the new turn signal complies with federal or state laws. This feature can also be made optional by Rivian in case you are in a state where the stadium lights as a turn signal are not supported. It takes only a bit of programming to revert to the light bar turn signals we see on the R1T prototypes.

Charge light indicator

 

We previously speculated based on rumors about the daytime running lights being used as a charge indicator for the Rivian when it’s on charge. We speculated that When the vehicle is fully charged, the light bar turns to solid green, and When the vehicle is charging the light bar will turn blue, and you’ll be able to see how much charge the car has taken and how much remains saying that the light bar will slowly fill up as we see in phones and turn solid green when the car is fully charged.

Updates on the latest preproduction R1T which we can see on a picture of James Chin who is Rivian’s VP of public policy in front of a blue R1T that is plugged in, we can see that there is a green light around the charge port to indicate that the car is charging correctly. It’s a more subtle way of showing the state of charge which many will like than the light bar which is a very public demonstration of your car’s charging status.

Autonomous driving capabilities

Rivian has removed all mentions of Lidar on their website. In 2019, statements on Rivian’s site about L3 and L4 autonomous driving capability have completely disappeared and they have switched to the current driver+ driver assistant feature. This feature is quite different from the full self-driving feature Tesla is working but looks more like Gm’s cruise. In response to this, Rivian CEO RJ said in an interview with TechCrunch, quote, “We want to embrace the challenge, there are mobility companies that are working on Level 4, and they’re looking at it kind of from the top-down, coming from 4 or 5 for more fleet applications possibly… We want to get a feature into our customer’s hands sooner than possibly some of those other systems might be fully vetted,” according to Rivian, L3 and L4 autonomous driving capabilities will take a long time to develop, so they have switched to a more widely available a legislatively approved driver assistant feature. We don’t know if they plan to work on autonomous full self-driving in the future. We are not hopeful though because they have ditched Lidar.

Ditching LIDAR

They are two approaches to autonomous driving development, one with LIDAR used on Google’s Waymo project and another with vision, like what Tesla is developing for its full self-driving pack. Rivian originally was going the way of Lidar but they have currently ditched the application of Lidar in the driver assistant feature. This is partly because the automaker has reverted its plans for an L3 or L4 autonomous driving to a driver assistant feature called Driver+, a feature they plan to get out to customers sooner than autonomous driving capability. Rivian has not mentioned if they plan to work on an autonomous driving feature in the future or not.

Tesla has been heavily relying on Vision and going against LIDAR sensors. At the same time, all the other companies use Lidar and do not seem to care. Elon Musk even said quote, LIDAR is a fool’s errand… and anyone relying on LIDAR is doomed.

Alexa integration

Amazon is one of the most prominent investors in Rivian. The commerce giant invested $700 million last year and ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian which the carmaker has already started shipping. So it’s no surprise that Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant is so deeply integrated to operate many features of the truck and the SUV. Some of these features include voice commands to open the front trunk or the frunk.

We don’t yet know the specific commands but if you type in on the Alexa app, what is the state of charge of my Rivian, it will respond, “that is not supported yet. Whereas if you ask Alexa about something it doesn’t know, it will probably say, “I don’t know what you mean” or something’ This makes us believe it’s something Amazon is working on, to add the voice search AI.

These are just some of the updates we identified. Subscribed and stay tuned for more Rivian exclusive content.

 

 

Hanson F.https://thevolter.com
Hanson is a lover of electric cars especially Rivian. He is a contributor for The Volter as well as other news hubs

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