Rivian’s latest over-the-air update is being pushed out to its R1T and R1S electric trucks, and brings physical changes to the ride and handling of all the vehicles it’s delivered to date.
“One of the major benefits of the Rivian platform is the ability to continually enhance nearly every aspect of our vehicles, including driving dynamics, a substantial point of differentiation afforded to us by having a software-defined vehicle platform,” said a Rivian spokesperson to Green Car Reports, confirming the content and timing of the update.
Rivian noted that it’s not the first time it’s tweaked ride and handling via updates, and that when it’s added new modes, like Soft Sand and Snow Mode, those have brought new ride-and-handling profiles. But it might be the most sweeping round of “retuning” yet for how the trucks simply feel on a day-to-day basis.
Rivian improved ride and handling updates – software version 2023.34.0
“We improved ride quality across all three modes and ride heights,” said Rivian in official release notes. Rivian points specifically to “reduced abruptness when driving over sharp road impacts in all three drive modes, and reduced harshness when driving over bumps and dips at parking lot speeds.”
Further, Rivian has again tweaked some ride and handling as differentiated by some of the modes—including increased ride comfort in the trucks’ All-Purpose Soft Ride mode, and “improved balance between ride and handling” in their Sport Mode.
2023 Rivian R1T
All Rivian models have a four-wheel independent air suspension with a hydraulic roll-control system. Air springs are particularly complicated as each ride height will yield different characteristics, so Rivian likely faces a daunting map of possibilities, and it’s not surprising it’s tweaking the system pressure and perhaps anti-roll behavior.
Rivian is also rolling a change into this latest update that can give drivers a little more reassurance they’ll arrive with the predicted battery state of charge. Drive modes for the electric trucks are now also represented in Rivian’s mobile-app-based trip planner. As you plan a trip, you can select which mode you’ll be using and the charging stops and ranges will be planned specifically for that mode, in addition to all the other variables for the route already considered.
2022 Rivian R1T
Automakers like Tesla, Rivian, Polestar, Porsche, Ford, and others who have already been embracing whole-vehicle over-the-air updates have preached a mantra that it enables continuous improvement of the vehicles even after they’re delivered.
While that has already resulted in various tweaks to EV propulsion, like more range for the Taycan, better range prediction for the Lucid Air, or an optional performance boost for the Polestar 2—or completely retuned brake behavior for Model 3. Rivian is showing that the actual tuning of vehicles’ ride and handling also doesn’t end at delivery.
It also underscores something new for owners of such vehicles. In this new world of frequent updates, don’t assume you have to accept attributes you don’t like. Send a note to the automaker and it just might change.