Rivian R1S: Everything we know as of May 2022

Update: ‘Production & Release Date’ section updated.

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. There are three variants; Launch Edition, Explore and Adventure.

Here’s everything we know about the Rivian R1S.

Design

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 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.

All variants get vegan leather seats with premium stitching. The Explore variant has two interior design themes: Black Mountain (included) and Ocean Coast (USD 2,000 extra). A third option, Forest Edge (dark brown), is available on the Adventure variant at an extra cost of USD 2,000. Adventure variants get perforated vegan leather seats with patterned stitching, 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.

Adventure Pack

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.

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 shorter. The R1S is about 2 inches longer than the Tesla Model X and the Ford Explorer.

Powertrain

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.

Charging

charging port
Rivian chargers will be powered by 100% green energy sources and have an output of 200 kW. Image: Rivian

By the end of 2023, Rivian plans to have 3,500 plus DC fast chargers across 600 sites. 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 R1S specificationsValue
Length (in.)200.8
Width (in.)81.8
Height (in.)77.3
Wheelbase (in.)121.1
Drivetrain layoutdual motor AWD / quad motor AWD
Horsepower600 hp / 835 hp
Torque600 lb-ft / 908 lb-ft
Battery105 kWh (Standard) / 135 kWh (Large)
Range 260 miles (Standard) / 314-320 miles (Large)
Charging (DC)200 kW
Towing capacityUp to 7,700 lbs
Total storage area105 cu ft
Range figures are early estimates by Rivian.

Off-road capabilities

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 specificationsValue
Approach angle35.6 degrees
Departure angle34.3 degrees
Breakover angle29.6 degrees
Ground Clearance (maximum)14.9 inches
Water wadingOver 3 feet
Off-Road modesAuto, 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 R1S Price & Rivals

For the Explore variant with the dual-motor set-up and the standard battery, the price starts at USD 72,500 (Rivian estimate, before taxes and federal grant). The Large battery pack would cost USD 6,000 more. Adding the Quad-Motor powertrain would entail an identical additional cost. The Adventure variant starts at USD 78,000 for the dual-motor-standard battery combination. The Quad-Motor powertrain and the Large battery pack options cost USD 6,000 each in this variant as well. The Launch Edition has the Quad-Motor powertrain and the Large battery pack as standard, and it costs USD 90,000.

The Tesla Model X is touted to be the Rivian R1S rival. But both models have vastly different appeals. Besides, the Model X costs USD 114,990 onwards, which means the Rivian SUV is much more affordable.

Rivian R1S variantsRivian R1S Price
ExploreUSD 72,500
AdventureUSD 78,000
Launch EditionUSD 90,000
Launch edition comes standard with quad motors and the Large battery pack; for the other two, customers have to shell out USD 6,000 extra for each.

Production & Release Date

The Rivian R1S is manufactured in Normal, Illinois, and many customers are eagerly awaiting delivery of their vehicle. Deliveries started in December 2021, and the first cars went to the company’s CEO and CFO (as per Electrek.co). Reservations for the Launch Edition are full. However, the supply is far from ideal.

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

A report CNBC filed on April 18, 2022, says that Rivian is manufacturing “some” R1S units besides the R1T and Rivian Amazon delivery vans. 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. According to a report from InsideEVs.com, Rivian could be able to increase production to 3,000 units in Q2 2022 (at a rate of 1,000 units/month). Hopefully, the ramp-up includes scaling production of the R1S.

For 2022, Rivian’s annual production target 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 36 in April 2022.

Rivian-Manufacturing-Normal-10
The R1S SUV on the assembly line at Rivian’s plant in Normal, Illinois. Image: Rivian

Rivian CEO Robert Scaringe blames the semiconductor chip shortage behind the slow ramp-up, suggests a recent report from Reuters. Fighting for allocation with established rivals is probably going to be 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.

Models with Ocean Coast cabin theme delayed

In other news, the Head of Rivian Customer Engagement sent letters to reservation holders that 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 is 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 states that this approach will allow Rivian to dispatch as many vehicles as possible, and some owners may get delivery ahead of schedule.

Featured Image Source: Rivian