The new, second-gen Rivian R1S goes faster and further than ever

Tesla rival Rivian has revealed a comprehensive facelift for its R1S and R1T electric vehicles

Rivian R1S
(Image credit: Rivian)

Tesla rival Rivian has revealed the second generation of its flagship R1T and R1S electric cars.

First shown off way back in 2017 and in production since 2021, the R1S seven-seat SUV and R1T pickup truck share the same all-electric drivetrain. Both second-gen models look very similar to their predecessors on the outside, but Rivian says a lot has changed beneath the skin.

This includes a new drivetrain that boasts more power, performance and range (and therefore efficiency) than the previous incarnation. An entirely new electrical architecture and compute platform sees the number of ECUs cut from 17 to just seven, Rivian says, resulting in each car requiring 1.6 miles less wiring than before.

Headline figures for the quad-motor version of the Rivian R1T electric truck include a total output of 1,025 horsepower, an enormous torque figure of 1,198 lb ft and a claimed 0-60 mph time of 2.5 seconds – the latter being a convenient 0.1s quicker than Tesla’s most potent Cybertruck.

Rivian R1S

(Image credit: Rivian)

Rivian says its new battery packs feature redesigned modules and more efficient packaging that makes them easier to manufacture and service, while the estimated maximum range is a claimed 420 miles. A smaller battery is said to offer an EPA-estimated range of 270 miles.

There’s also a redesigned heat pump-based thermal system that is said to improve cabin temperature control and save range, while new 22-inch wheels reduce drag and updated suspension and air springs promise a smoother on-road ride without compromising off-roading capability.

Rivian has also updated the semi-autonomous technology of its cars. The company’s in-house autonomy system, called Rivian Autonomy Platform, now comprises 11 cameras, five radars and what the company calls “AI precision technology.” Rivian claims the autonomous driving system is 10 times more powerful than before, and it has a total imaging resolution that is eight times greater.

Rivian R1T

(Image credit: Rivian)

The tech upgrades continue with the ability for Apple Wallet users to unlock and start the new Rivian cars with their iPhone or Apple Watch, and the same functionality is coming to some Google Pixel phones too.

Inside, new Rivians bought with the premium audio system now feature Dolby Atmos for more immersive sound, and there’s a new subscription service called Connext+ that supports Google Cast video streaming to the car’s dashboard display. Connect+ also gives Rivian customers access to Apple Music, plus support for Spatial Audio.

Lastly, a new panoramic glass roof can be tinted electronically with the press of a button, plus there’s a new ambient lighting setup, and the car’s redesigned user interface is powered by Unreal Engine for video game-like graphics.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.