Update: ‘First impressions’ section added.
Rivian is making steady progress with its EVs, and the R1S SUV is leading the charge alongside the R1T pickup. The R1S packs quirky features, efficient design, and an impressive range. Customers can also have the R1S in different drivetrain and battery configurations.
Here’s everything we know about the Rivian R1S.
The Rivian R1S has a traditional two-box SUV design. While most manufacturers are going beyond the textbook rules with overly done cuts and creases and complex touches, Rivian has settled for a minimalist approach. It works exceptionally well, making the Rivian R1S look futuristic. Like its pickup sibling, the R1S has a full-width LED light bar up front that also doubles up as a charging status indicator.
The hood is high off the ground and has subtle character lines. The front bumper houses the air intake to cool the battery and has two tow hooks, a chunky metal skid plate, and integrated horizontal fog lamps. The SUV comes with 21-inch magnesium-aluminium alloys wrapped in road tires as standard. Three 20-inch all-terrain tires and two 22-inch low-profile tires are available as paid options.
From the side profile, the R1S looks long and rectangular. Even though there aren’t any sophisticated aerodynamic principles applied to this box, Rivian has provided flush door handles as standard. A thick C-pillar that houses the brand logo separates the rear quarter glass from the glass area. The full-width LED bar at the rear accentuates the width. Thanks to their fluid design, the side body cladding and the front and rear bumpers seem like one unit.
The LA Silver color is standard. There are eight other options to choose from, each costing USD 1,750 or USD 2,500 extra.
Interior & features
The Rivian R1S is a 7-seater. The middle and third-row seats can fold, allowing owners to mix and match the seating configuration depending on the requirement. The seats fold flat, so sliding up items from the boot can be smooth. Total enclosed storage space in the R1S is up to 105 cu ft. Rivian hasn’t conducted press drives of the R1S yet, so there are no reports on whether the third row can accommodate adults comfortably or just children.
Rivian offers three interior options for the R1S Adventure: Black Mountain (standard), Ocean Coast (USD 2,000 extra), and Forest Edge (USD 2,000 extra). All three of them include vegan leather seats with patterned stitching, Compass Yellow accents, and natural grained ash wood finishes, making the cabin appear truly upmarket.
The Rivian R1S has an extra-large, 15.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system with LTE and Wi-Fi capability, Bluetooth connectivity, and support for Alexa voice commands and OTA updates. However, there’s no Apple CarPlay, which many owners may find disappointing. A 12.3-inch digital cluster showcases driving information like range, charging status, gear position, and more. There’s also a panoramic sunroof and a Meridian sound system.
The Launch Edition comes with all the bells and whistles. Launch Edition customers get priority delivery, Launch Edition interior badging, special Launch Green paint color option and 20-inch All-Terrain or 22-inch Sport wheel upgrade options without having to pay extra. That said, the cabin is devoid of physical buttons and has plenty of storage spaces.
Pet Comfort mode
Rivian now offers a ‘Pet Comfort’ mode in the R1S and R1T similar to Tesla’s Dog mode. The company rolled out the feature in already delivered units with an OTA software update. Drivers can enable the Pet Comfort mode to keep their pets in their R1S and R1T safe while away by simply tapping on a paw icon in the upper right corner of the touchscreen. If there’s enough charge left to cover a distance of 50+ miles, they can set the cabin temperature to 68-78°F.
Rivian’s Gear Guard character and a temperature readout appear on the screen, along with a readout for people passing by the vehicle that the pets are safe. The Pet Comfort mode remains activated until manually disabled/battery depletion.
Like the R1T, the R1S can be had with a host of optional accessories. Since the R1S has no central tunnel storage, there’s no sliding kitchen counter. However, owners can choose the Camping Package at USD 3,100, adding a three-person tent and cargo crossbars on the roof. Other optional items include the recovery kit, wall box charger, and more.
Ergonomic design for rear seats
Rivian has smartly engineered the rear seats and the tailgate of the R1S. The rear has two tailgates: one that opens upwards electronically by pressing a button, and the lower tailgate that folds flat like a loading platform. The upper tailgate also has lamps; if the customers are in poorly lit location, it illuminates the loading area. The boot also has hooks that slide back and forth and can be used for attaching gear. And lastly, the second and the third rows fold flat at the touch of a button to open up acres of room to accommodate large items.
Rivian R1S Specifications
The Rivian R1S measures 200.8 inches long, 81.8 inches wide, and 77.3 inches tall. It has a 121.1-inch wheelbase. It’s nearly 17 inches shorter than its pickup sibling and almost 1 inch lower. The R1S is about 2 inches longer than the Tesla Model X and the Ford Explorer.
There are two drivetrain options on the Rivian R1S: a quad motor AWD layout with one electric motor for each wheel and a dual-motor AWD option with one electric motor on each axle. The quad motor set-up is good for 835 hp and 908 lb-ft, blasting the R1T from 0-60 mph in just 3 seconds. The dual-motor set-up isn’t a slouch by any means, producing a combined output of 600 hp and 600 lb-ft with a 0-60 mph time of 4 seconds.
Battery & Range
Rivian has announced two battery pack options – Standard (105 kWh) and Large (135 kWh). However, it will offer the Standard pack from 2024, which means that only a single long-range battery is available currently. The Standard pack is expected to provide over 260 miles of range (claimed).
On the dual-motor R1S, the Large pack offers a claimed 320 miles of range. The official EPA estimate for the Large pack on the quad motor Rivian is 314 miles. EPA rating for the rest of the battery-motor combinations is pending. Moreover, the quad-motor set-up can only be had with the Large battery.
What’s more, the battery pack and the drivetrain come with an eight-year/175,000-mile warranty, whichever comes first. The long warranty period is a testament to Rivian’s belief in the reliability of its offerings.
By the end of 2023, Rivian plans to have 3,500 DC fast chargers across 600 sites in North America. Along with level 2 AC chargers, Rivian’s entire network is projected to comprise 10,000 chargers by the end of 2023. They will be powered by 100% green energy sources and have an output of 200 kW, eventually increasing to 300 kW. The connected car technology lets owners locate charging stations and monitor charging status through the Rivian app.
Rivian Adventure Network
Rivian is working on making electrified adventures a reality by setting up charging stations under a ‘Rivian Adventure Network’ at adventure hotspots. On June 27, 2022, the company announced it opened the Rivian Adventure Network’s first three Level 3 DC fast-charging sites in Colorado and California. These sites offer charging at over 200 kW, allowing customers to add as many as 140 miles to the range of their Rivian vehicles in just 20 minutes.
The first Rivian Adventure Network charging site, located in Salida (CO), opened on June 26, 2022, and has four chargers. It has four Level 2 Rivian Waypoints chargers as well, meaning non-Rivian EVs can also use this charging site. The second and third sites, located in Inyokern (CA) and Bishop (CA), respectively, opened on June 28, 2022, and June 29, 2022, respectively. The two sites cater to customers traveling to Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Sequoia National Forest, and such other frequently visited spots.
|Rivian R1S specifications||Value|
|Drivetrain layout||dual motor AWD / quad motor AWD|
|Horsepower||600 hp / 835 hp|
|Torque||600 lb-ft / 908 lb-ft|
|Battery||105 kWh (Standard) / 135 kWh (Large)|
|Range||260 miles (Standard) / 314-320 miles (Large)|
|Charging (DC)||200 kW|
|Towing capacity||Up to 7,700 lbs|
|Total storage area||105 cu ft|
The Rivian R1S comes with adaptive air suspension as standard. The system can raise the ground clearance up to 14.9 inches, to help the SUV clear large obstacles. The suspension can also be lowered to 8.8 inches while loading cargo or to aid ingress and egress. That said, the R1S gets approach, departure, and breakover angles of 35.6, 34.3 and 29.6 degrees. Additionally, it is capable of wading through more than 3 feet of water.
There are eight driving modes, of which four are off-road modes including Off-Road Auto, Off-Road Rock Crawl, Off-Road Rally and Off-Road Drift. The R1S with the quad motor AWD set-up can control torque on each wheel independently, eliminating the need for differentials. The Off-Road Rally mode activates torque vectoring to distribute torque between the wheels depending on the grip. On the dual-motor AWD, the torque split is adjusted between the front and the rear axles only, and not between individual wheels.
|Rivian R1S off-road specifications||Value|
|Approach angle||35.6 degrees|
|Departure angle||34.3 degrees|
|Breakover angle||29.6 degrees|
|Ground Clearance (maximum)||14.9 inches|
|Water wading||Over 3 feet|
|Off-Road modes||Auto, Rally, Rock Crawl, Drift|
Sand mode, Pet mode and Dashcam features to be rolled out via OTA
Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe stated (via Twitter) on April 26, 2022, that the R1S SUV and the R1T Pickup will get a new Sand mode, Pet mode, and a dashcam feature through over-the-air (OTA) updates. He released a video on Twitter where an R1S, mounted with the U.S. flag on the bonnet, can be seen hurling sand into the air, with its rear wheels spinning fasting than its front wheels. The Sand mode will alter torque output between the front and the rear axles to maximize traction, making the SUV more capable in the desert. Rivian will also introduce, via OTA, a Pet mode and a dashcam feature that will allow owners to leave their pets in a locked vehicle in a safe and climate-controlled environment.
Rivian conducted a media drive of the R1S in July 2022. Travis Langness, Edmunds’ Senior Reviews Editor, says (via YouTube) that the R1S offers top-notch acceleration and handling. It is just as good to drive as the R1T and gives a more comfortable ride on highways. YouTube channel PRNDL by Jordan Golson’s review states the R1S as offering endless acceleration even when driving uphill.
Micah Muzio, Kelly Blue Book’s Managing Editor (Video), is particularly impressed by how Rivian has tuned the R1S’ regenerative braking. It can bring the EV to a complete stop so smoothly that the driver can’t even tell when the deceleration ended. Tim Stevens, editor at large, CNET Cars, tested the R1S on an off-road trail where there was mud, rocks, and everything else but tarmac, and he says that it is remarkable in this aspect (via Youtube). The SUV is better than the R1T in off-road driving, which is obvious because of its shorter length and wheelbase.
Rivian R1S Price & Rivals
Rivian had launched the R1S in Explore, Adventure, and Launch Edition variants. However, it has discontinued the Explore variant due to low demand.
The R1S Launch Edition, priced at USD 90,000, was already sold out before the R1S Explore discontinuation. Hence, only the R1S Adventure is available to reserve, with prices starting at USD 78,000. Customers who reserved the R1S Explore can either shell out an extra USD 5,500 and upgrade to the R1S Adventure (the latest by September 1, 2022) or cancel their reservation and get a refund.
The R1S Launch Edition has the Quad-Motor powertrain and the Large battery pack as standard. The R1S Adventure (USD 78,000) has the Dual-Motor powertrain and the Standard battery pack. The R1S Launch Edition’s Quad-Motor powertrain and Large battery pack are available as optional upgrades, priced at USD 6,000 and USD 8,000, respectively. Selecting the Quad-Motor powertrain option mandates checking the Large battery pack option.
|Rivian R1S variants||Rivian R1S Price|
|Explore (Discontinued)||USD 72,500|
|Launch Edition (Sold-out)||USD 90,000|
The Tesla Model X is touted to be the Rivian R1S rival. However, both models have vastly different appeals. Besides, the Model X costs USD 120,990 onwards, which means the Rivian SUV is much more affordable.
Production & Deliveries
Rivian makes the R1S at its in Normal (Illinois), USA. The company has started delivering its first electric SUV to customers in the home market. There’s long waiting periods involved though, as production is slow because of component shortages. As of May 9, 2022, Rivian had 90,000+ pre-orders for the R1T and R1S combined.
R1S deliveries technically started in December 2021, but the first cars went to the company’s CEO and CFO (as per Electrek). It was at the end of August 2022 that we started seeing non-employee customers getting their R1S keys, and one of them was Rivian Forums user fletch.
Rivian has two separate body shops on the factory grounds—one for the R1 series vans, and another for other commercial vehicles. Similarly, there are two general assembly lines, and on one of them, the company builds both R1T and R1S from around 2,000 components, which it sources from roughly 400 suppliers.
As of December 15, 2021, we have produced 652 R1 vehicles and delivered 386 of those, including the production and sale of our first two R1S vehicles earlier this week.Rivian Q3 2021 shareholder letter, 16 December 2021
Rivian hasn’t postponed the deliveries of its R1T and R1S models in Canada to 2023. This rumor swirled when the delivery of one Canadian customer’s R1T Launch Edition was pushed back from Q3 2022 to H2 2023 (as shared on Rivian Owners Forum). On July 4, 2022, Rivian’s Canadian subsidiary confirmed to InsideEVs that the first deliveries will start in November 2022. In case the company plans to start delivering only one of the R1 series by the end of 2022, the R1T will likely be the EV that goes on sale first.
During Rivian’s Q1 2022 earnings conference call on May 11, 2022, Scaringe said that delivering more R1S (and EDVs) is the company’s core focus for 2022. To make that happen, it needs to address supply constraints, the brand chief added. Rivian produced 2,553 EVs and sold 1,227 EVs in Q1 2022. Those are not big numbers for a brand with such models that hold tremendous potential in the market, all because of supply issues. In Q2 2022, the company manufactured 4,401 units and delivered 4,467 units.
Rivian’s annual production target for 2022 is only 25,000 units, and this has caused a significant impact on its stock price. Its share price has steeply declined, from about USD 172 in November 2021 to approximately USD 34 in August 2022.
Scaringe blames the semiconductor chip shortage behind the slow ramp-up, suggests a report Reuters published on April 18, 2022. Fighting for allocation with established rivals is probably quite challenging for young brands like Rivian.
Rivian has confirmed plans to expand its manufacturing by constructing a second facility in Georgia starting this summer. The upcoming ‘carbon conscious’ campus would be located east of Atlanta, in Morgan and Walton counties. Rivian would invest USD 5 billion in this forthcoming facility. It would create 7,500 jobs, and the plant will have a production capacity of 400,000 vehicles annually. Production will begin in 2024. The Rivian R2S is one of the models to be made at this location.
Models with Ocean Coast cabin theme delayed
In other news, the Head of Rivian Customer Engagement sent letters to reservation holders that the production of models with the Ocean Coast interior theme is delayed because the light wood in Ocean Coast is tough to manufacture. In the meantime, the focus was on delivering variants with the Black Mountain and Forest Edge interior themes, as per the letter posted on Rivian Forums on April 26, 2022. The letter stated that this approach will allow Rivian to dispatch as many vehicles as possible, and some owners may get deliveries ahead of schedule.
On August 18, 2022, Rivian announced that it had changed the Ocean Coast’s light ash wood accents to dark stained ash wood accents. The light wood required for light ash wood accents was challenging to produce. Switching to dark stained ash wood accents will allow the company to speed up the deliveries of the R1S units specified with the Ocean Coast interior.
From the early reviews and customer feedback, the Rivian R1S is regarded as one of the most capable electric SUVs on the market. Its on-road performance, off-road capabilities, comfort, convenience and utility features, and build quality have impressed many reviewers, and overall it’s a solid product. Moreover, unlike the upcoming Hummer EV SUV, it offers three-row seating, which makes it a great everyday driver for families. However, Rivian need to work on scaling up production to speed up deliveries, and introduce lower variants to make it accessible to more buyers.
Featured Image Source: Rivian