Rivian R1T and R1S Lack Heat Pumps, Could Reduce Cold-Weather Range
Electric vehicles’ battery temperatures must be carefully controlled, both to maximize range and performance, and to minimize degradation. Without adequate cooling, an EV could wind up like the first-gen Nissan Leaf and lose significant range over time. While not as consequential, the absence of a heat pump can still hurt an EV’s range in cold weather. One victim of this will be the 2022 Rivian R1T because it lacks a heat pump, according to a document filed with the EPA.
As dug up by users of Rivian Owners Forum, Rivian’s 2022 model certification application notably features “N/A” under the subheading on heat pumps. This is a painstaking document that goes in-depth on every aspect of the R1T down to the viscosity index of its gear oil, so the omission appears to tell us a heat pump isn’t present. This could significantly affect the R1T’s and R1S’s cold-weather range. (Note that this doesn’t mean the Rivians’ batteries aren’t liquid-cooled, they just don’t have the ability to pre-warm themselves or direct excess heat to the cabin.)
2022 Rivian R1T off-roading in the Rocky Mountains
The R1s’ lack of a heat pump isn’t the only interesting detail revealed by the document, either. When I drove a prototype R1T earlier this year, we didn’t get official word on how much it weighed or what its maximum DC fast-charge speed is. Both have been confirmed in the document, which states the R1T weighs 6,949 pounds. As a bonus, the document even shares the curb weight of the R1S—that’s 6,916 pounds.
As for charging, Rivian previously only stated the R1T could recover 140 miles of range in 20 minutes on 200 kW DC input. According to the document, maximum input isn’t far above that, at 210 kW; a fairly high rate of charge, though it falls short of that offered by the comparable (though costlier) 2022 GMC Hummer EV, which can accept 350-kW charging. For further reference, the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning appears to charge more slowly at 150 kW, placing the Rivian in the middle on charging, as it is on price and power output.
2022 Rivian R1T interior
This limitation could stem from the R1T’s drivetrain being a 400-volt system, as opposed to the 800 volts chosen by Porsche for the quicker-charging Taycan (at 270 kW). The Hummer, on the other hand, is 800 volt-compatible during charging, though it otherwise operates at 400 volts.
The R1s’ lack of a heat pump won’t do them any favors in on-paper comparisons against other EVs, though it’s not likely it’ll significantly impact daily usability. The R1T’s 135-kWh batteries provide it with 314 miles of range—which, even suffering from an up to 57-percent range penalty found by AAA at 20 degrees Fahrenheit, would still guarantee 135 miles’ range by my own math. And if you need to regularly drive a pickup that far no matter the weather, you probably aren’t shopping for a truck with rigid range and recharging requirements in the first place.
The Drive contacted Rivian for comment and we will update this post when we hear back.
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