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R1S Perf DM Max Pack 21" Wheels, 1st Week Impressions..<Long!>

Paachi

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Hi Everyone,


New R1S owner here. Thank you for the enthusiastic welcome and all the inputs. Its been 5-6 days since pickup and I have driven it for about 500 miles, so I am posting my first set of thoughts on the R1S. I wanted to take some time and be deliberate with my thoughts. Would love your feedback and suggestions. This is going to be a long one..but I am excited and have a lot to ask and share


TLDR: Great truck that still feels hamstrung by some quirky design and development choices


My spec is a Perf Dual Motor with Max Pack and 21" wheels.


Delivery/ Pick up Experience:


I arrived at the Rivian Center (which is about 20 miles from my home) about 5 mins late (3:35 PM instead of 3:30 PM) and was checked in. They had a busy day with over 20 deliveries so it took them another 30 mins to get to me. Once my turn came, the time taken to sign the papers, trade in my car and get to my new Rivian was only 15 mins.

The associate walked me through the basics of the car. Unfortunately it was getting dark, so I didnt have time to really inspect the car thoroughly at pickup. But dont worry, they understand this and the associate told me I have time to document all the issues and raise tickets for them. I did a quick examination of the exterior, interior, accessories (flashlight, camp speaker, mats, etc.) and could find only 3 small issues of minor panel rotation for which we raised tickets immediately. More on this later. But my recommendation is do take a check list but don't sweat it if you can’t check everything at delivery. Take 4 hours over the next weekend and ensure you go through everything in the peace and quiet of your driveway.

Overall the delivery experience was decent. Definitely not premium (our family is coming from the Porsche and Mercedes dealership experience which is stellar)..but again IMHO Rivian deliver a premium experience on the most valuable commodity, Time. Everything is quick, easy and not painful. The traditional dealer model of gymnastics between the salesmen and the finance guys is dead as a dodo. Rivian can improve the front office experience though..the check in process and just making you feel welcome is severely lacking


Driving the R1S

Over the last few days I have driven the R1S for about 500 miles. In this time I have done, highway, city driving and long twisty mountainous sections as well

- The car is well suspended for its weight. The stiff setting is quite good and composed and helps it handle like our erstwhile Cayenne in twisty roads. The R1S is 1500 lbs heavier and of course doesn’t have the handling pedigree of the Porsche. So, thats a very very high watermark and praise. It still cant handle like a proper sports car (you notice it especially with the mass being flung around in tight darty corners) but given its size and intent its amazing what the Rivian engineers tuned it for
- The accelerator pedal calibration for 1-pedal driving is pretty spot on. I was bummed initially that it didnt have the creep mode as a setting, but the creep/ stop behavior is dialed into the pedal. You have to treat it like a potentiometer :)
- The seat and ergonomics are spot on. No complaints whatsoever. Good reach, great support, firm bolstering. I do wish they had put in thigh extensions to help under thigh support during long highway slogs
- The Driver+
- The HVAC is two zones only and is transversely managed. Really daft design. I really hope they can unlock true 3 or 4 zone HVAC with an update.
- I have driven it in All Purpose mode pretty much all the time and it’s the perfect mode. The rear motor kicks in on demand otherwise its mostly FWD and it drives very well
- One thing that I never appreciated in my test drives or haven’t seen being spoken about much is the turning circle. This IS a nimble car. The turning radius is pretty tight..especially considering that this is a huge vehicle. It’s 3-4” wider and 11” longer than our Cayenne! And still manages to turn in less or same space as our Cayenne
- The suspension while admirable in its handling traits, does exhibit some funkiness.
A.) When going over speed bumps in soft mode the front seems to buckle a bit too hard before the spring helps out. Doesn’t happen in the stiff mode.
B.) The rear suspension seems to have a knocking sound. I think its the air bladders pumping up or releasing air. But don’t know for sure. I have raised a ticket with Rivian for this
C.) The car seems to have a mind of its own regarding whether it wants to go to kneel mode on park or not


Interiors, Amenities, Charging and Living with it

- The interiors of the car are very thoughtfully designed with a clean but usable aesthetic. I like it. There are small quibbles like the charging pad..but honestly I am going create a silicone channel to sort of hold the phone in place with some bathroom caulk and see if that works before spending $100 on a mag puck accessory
- The headlights are quite good. Great spread, cut off and even lighting in the beam. Two callouts:
1.) I would love for them to reduce the color temp by about 500 kelvin to be closer to 4500-5000K. It feels its about 5500-6000K right now. A little less blue would be better
2.) The auto high beam has ADD it seems to jump up to high and low randomly on dark roads. The saving grace is that when there is oncoming traffic it stays dipped. I hope again they fix it in a patch
- The Rivian designed sound system is amazing. The clarity and detail is very very good. The channel separation is again very good. If you listen to classical, jazz and vocals you won’t be disappointed. The base is tight but lacking in oomph/punch and air
- Rivian bless your heart for not aping Tesla in omitting grab handles. They are very helpful because even in the lowest mode the R1S is pretty high. A set of side steps are a must IMHO..especially if your family has older folks or vertically challenged folks
- The seats are very well cooled and ventilated. As aforementioned, great bolstering and support
- I am a numbers nerd and I am super enjoying this whole new set of math I have to do around charging, efficiency and experimenting what impacts how much. I do wish they had more numbers for me to crunch. As far as I can see the only real time data I get is the last 15 min average line graph on the left of the instrument cluster. Is there anything else? I really wish they had a menu that shows me how much HVAC usage or acceleration or heating batteries or something else is contributing to or taking away from my overall range
- I have installed a suite of apps including ABRP, EvGo, Electrify America, ChargePoint and ElectraFi. Anything I am missing?


Quibbles/ Observations/ Areas of improvement:

- I understand that Rivian chose to make it 2WD for efficiency, but I am sure they can alter it between FWD and RWD. In my daily driving it’s mostly FWD and 4WD is summoned pretty seamlessly as needed. But I have seen that front motors are always running a bit hotter than the rears. Seems like a recipe for wearing them out prematurely than the rears

- The HVAC is a conundrum for me. Why they chose to not put in a heat pump in todays day and age is beyond me. The transverse management of the HVAC without any separate temp setting for the middle row is pretty darn stupid

- Is it me or the second row seats don't go back to the original setting when. you slide them forward to access the third row? The second row seat backs also seem very heavy in pushing back to a recline position

- The vehicle is pretty tall and heavy..so I am not expecting miracles in the form of efficiency. But I have mostly averaged 1.8-2.1 mi/ kWh. If I am driving on the highway at 75 mph (indicated, speedo has a 2mph optimistic error), cabin set to 70 deg and on cruise control then I get 2.25-2.3 mi/ Kwh. So by that measure it’s a range of ~320 miles. Pretty abysmal. To get the EPA stated range of 400 miles I need to get an efficiency of 2.8 mi/ kWh which I dont see happening at all unless I keep it at 60-65

- A big frustration for me has been the proximity unlock. Picture this..you have a new car..excited to show it to you family and friends. Walk up to the car and it wont unlock..you fumble with the app and it says 'waking' .. 30 agonizing seconds later the car unlocks. Uggh. Rivian fix this!! Unacceptable.. (I know this is a known issue..but just venting here..bear with me)

- Finally, My biggest frustration so far has been DC fast charging. Surprisingly, it’s not what I feared. Every DC fast charger I have gone to worked flawlessly..Electrify America, EvGo..all had stations open, working and charged the Rivian. But as has been documented here, the charge curve is shite. The R1S is theoretically capable of charging at 220 Kwh..of course that’s only for a short period. I dont expect it to sustain that. But here is my experience. I went to 2 DC fast chargers..both 350 kW one Electrify America and one EvGo. The R1S was at 38% and 28% SOC respectively. It started at 190-175 kWh charging and dropped in a min to a steady 145-150 kWh. The moment it hit 50% it dropped to 100-110 kWh and when it crossed 70% it went to 70s. I topped it up to 75% SOC and left. Took me about 35-40 mins each time. Home charging seems to be working well and I think that’s the way ahead till Rivian can come up with a solve. And I do sincerely hope they do..because this is a kick arse road tripping car and it would be a shame to not leverage it so



Ok..thats a long ramble. Thank you for enduring so far. I will shut up now. I have a big roadtrip coming up shortly with about 1700 miles of driving. I will post a detailed roadtrip report after that. If you guys have any questions specific to the R1S, Perf Dual Motor or the Max Pack..please feel free to ping..I can try answer them
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Paachi

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I just installed it. I am going out for a drive tonight to see what the updates are.
 

Donald Stanfield

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I do agree with the charging curve. If they could get it closer to 125kW until 75-80 percent, it would make a world of difference in speed. Save at least 10 minutes at a charging stop, and the last 10 minutes always seem to take the longest because you stop making progress. Good review, but I cannot speak to the intricacies of the dual as I have a quad.
 

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Regarding distance per kWh, every 10 miles/hr makes a huge difference on the drag experienced by the vehicle. It’s not uncommon to see the degradation on efficiency on any EV car. So 65 is much more efficient than 75, which is still much more efficient than 85.

Getting 2.3mi/kwh at 75 mph with hvac set at 70 degrees is pretty good! Not sure how cold it is outside. I don’t think a heat pump will drastically improve your efficiency
 

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Great write up. I have the same car coming. It's on a transporter. Here are some thoughts.
I don't think the Rivian has springs at all.
The Dual motors are oil cooled and will likely stay cooler than the Bosch water jacket ones.
Yea the EPA doesn't test while exceeding speed limits. I'm actually surprised you are getting 2.3 at 75mph for this brick. Definitely better than the quads.
Having 35%-45% added in 35-45 minutes seems like a long time. It is a bigger battery than the long range so percentages are a tricky thing. I guess we'll need to think more in terms of range added over time or better kw added over time. Seems like the average over a 10-80 is about 120kwh. I super glad charging sessions were no problem in general for you though. I hear Teslas ramp down really quick but Rivians hold for about 15 min in the 200 range. Maybe cold or a station issue?
Rivian chose to use waste heat from the motors and inverters instead of a heat pump. Is that a bad choice? I can't say since I don't even own one. I'm glad it has heated seats though. Resistive heaters suck in general but for a seat they are pretty effective.
 

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cabin set to 70 deg and on cruise control then I get 2.25-2.3 mi/ Kwh. So by that measure it’s a range of ~320 miles. Pretty abysmal. To get the EPA stated range of 400 miles I need to get an efficiency of 2.8 mi/ kWh which I dont see happening at all unless I keep it at 60-65
Are you running heat or AC? What part of the country are you in?
 
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Paachi

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Regarding distance per kWh, every 10 miles/hr makes a huge difference on the drag experienced by the vehicle. It’s not uncommon to see the degradation on efficiency on any EV car. So 65 is much more efficient than 75, which is still much more efficient than 85.

Getting 2.3mi/kwh at 75 mph with hvac set at 70 degrees is pretty good! Not sure how cold it is outside. I don’t think a heat pump will drastically improve your efficiency
Agreed @DuoRivians .. I am definitely not expecting EPA numbers but I was thinking more like 10% less so about ~360mile range which should translate to 2.54 mi/ kWh on a 142 kW effective battery size. External temp was about 60-65 deg F. So pretty optimal conditions I'd think. Again early days. My long road trip will give me a lot more data.

Great write up. I have the same car coming. It's on a transporter. Here are some thoughts.
I don't think the Rivian has springs at all.
The Dual motors are oil cooled and will likely stay cooler than the Bosch water jacket ones.
Yea the EPA doesn't test while exceeding speed limits. I'm actually surprised you are getting 2.3 at 75mph for this brick. Definitely better than the quads.
Having 35%-45% added in 35-45 minutes seems like a long time. It is a bigger battery than the long range so percentages are a tricky thing. I guess we'll need to think more in terms of range added over time or better kw added over time. Seems like the average over a 10-80 is about 120kwh. I super glad charging sessions were no problem in general for you though. I hear Teslas ramp down really quick but Rivians hold for about 15 min in the 200 range. Maybe cold or a station issue?
Rivian chose to use waste heat from the motors and inverters instead of a heat pump. Is that a bad choice? I can't say since I don't even own one. I'm glad it has heated seats though. Resistive heaters suck in general but for a seat they are pretty effective.
@HaveBlue When I said springs, its the air springs. I have peeked under but I am sure there must be some form of air helper springs to help the air suspension.

You bring up a good point on the cold station. On both scenarios the charging was done at night when the ambient air temp was mid-40s deg F. Still doesnt explain the ramp down curve.

Are you running heat or AC? What part of the country are you in?
The cabin was set at 70F. The outside was at 60-65 deg F. This is in the San Francisco Bay Area. So plenty of elevation changes
 

HaveBlue

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Battery chemistry gets sluggish below 60F. You won't be able to charge as fast. So if the battery was at ambient 40s when you charged, that could be it.

HVAC set at 70 and below runs the AC. 72 and above runs the heater. It's a bug apparently. It can be zero degrees inside and outside and it will run the AC if you set it to 70F.
 

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Regarding distance per kWh, every 10 miles/hr makes a huge difference on the drag experienced by the vehicle. It’s not uncommon to see the degradation on efficiency on any EV car. So 65 is much more efficient than 75, which is still much more efficient than 85.

Getting 2.3mi/kwh at 75 mph with hvac set at 70 degrees is pretty good! Not sure how cold it is outside. I don’t think a heat pump will drastically improve your efficiency
It would have been great if Rivian would have installed a heat pump as part of the Max Pack option. It would make the increased cost of the Max Pack a lot easier to accept.
 

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Paachi

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Battery chemistry gets sluggish below 60F. You won't be able to charge as fast. So if the battery was at ambient 40s when you charged, that could be it.

HVAC set at 70 and below runs the AC. 72 and above runs the heater. It's a bug apparently. It can be zero degrees inside and outside and it will run the AC if you set it to 70F.

I did drive about 5-10 miles to heat up the battery before charging but probably wasnt enough. I will start logging battery temps when I do a DC fast charge. I might be wrong but I think ElectraFi also logs this..need to check. Is there an optimal battery temp for charging?

Also, !! on the HVAC point. Damn they really created a daft HVAC system..the person who designed it should be fired.
 
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Paachi

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It would have been great if Rivian would have installed a heat pump as part of the Max Pack option. It would make the increased cost of the Max Pack a lot easier to accept.

True..it smarts that I had to pay $3-4K more for the max pack..I wish there was something to show for it..range is still an open question. The heat pump would have easened the pain. Wonder if it can be added later by Rivian as a retrofix
 

Riviot

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The cabin was set at 70F. The outside was at 60-65 deg F. This is in the
It's still not clear, was the heat or AC running? I don't use the auto-setting and it seems to fluctuate depending on your internal temp. Like on a sunny day with the interior warmed up it could run AC, and on a dark cloudy day with cool interior it could run heat.

So again, which was running?
 
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Paachi

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It's still not clear, was the heat or AC running? I don't use the auto-setting and it seems to fluctuate depending on your internal temp. Like on a sunny day with the interior warmed up it could run AC, and on a dark cloudy day with cool interior it could run heat.

So again, which was running?
I don’t fully recall but it was in temperature driven auto and I think the HVAC was blowing heat
 

Riviot

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I don’t fully recall but it was in temperature driven auto and I think the HVAC was blowing heat
Heat draws much more power than AC, about 2.5kWh/hour from my rough experience. That alone explains your efficiency difference.

Now I want to test how much the heat uses. Thanks for the inspiration!
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