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Normal HVAC behavior?

Yellow Buddy

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This is similar to what I see as well. Anything 71 or below and the truck will blow cold air out of the vents even if the cabin temperature is in the 40s/50s. However if I leave it at 72 it seems to work as I would expect auto hvac and blows warm air.

The other thing that bothers me is when in auto mode the fan is always blowing at a relatively high speed even once the cabin gets up to temperature. One of the best things about owning an EV is the silence when driving and I find the fan noise on auto excessive due to it's speed.
This is my situation as well. The optimum temp is about 70 for us, when it hits that temp and starts blowing cold, it feels cold. We can turn it up to 72 or 73 and it’ll run constantly but efficiency takes a big hit.

What we’ve started doing is precondition and then turn the HVAC off completely. We’re in a cold zone but we find we are more comfortable with it fully off than with it blowing cold air on us.

I mean if you think about it. Is a functioning HVAC system really a requirement of a luxury vehicle?

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EVnewb

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So take this for what it’s worth coming from an employee over the phone.. but I spoke to a gentleman on the phone last night about the charger not working. After we got that figured out he asked if I had any other concerns. I told him the HVAC was a little hit or miss. After explaining what we have been seeing (playing with Auto and Recirculate) and what I’ve read online, he tells me,

“The Rivian HVAC system is currently setup to provide resistive heat when the temp is set over 72 degrees. The truck will run the compressor and blow cold air when the temp is set below 66 degrees. Between 66 and 72 degrees, the HVAC will just blow ambient air.”

If that’s true, and I’m skeptical, why would they program it to work like that?? I also told him that I read that some people have had trouble keeping the cabin warm when it’s really cold out and he said,

“In really cold environments we recommend people use Recirculate. Trying to warm 10 degree air from outside to 75 degrees before it reaches the cabin is hard and not energy efficient so the truck won’t be able to keep up. But recirculating the cabin air will allow the truck to warm the it gradually.”

You’d think this stuff would’ve been tested and figured out when they did their cold weather testing up in Baudette.
https://electrek.co/2021/02/27/rivian-tests-r1t-electric-pickup-in-sub-zero-temperatures/

But again, take this with a little salt. If what he said is accurate, hopefully they fix this with a software update soon.
 

CommodoreAmiga

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So take this for what it’s worth coming from an employee over the phone.. but I spoke to a gentleman on the phone last night about the charger not working. After we got that figured out he asked if I had any other concerns. I told him the HVAC was a little hit or miss. After explaining what we have been seeing (playing with Auto and Recirculate) and what I’ve read online, he tells me,

“The Rivian HVAC system is currently setup to provide resistive heat when the temp is set over 72 degrees. The truck will run the compressor and blow cold air when the temp is set below 66 degrees. Between 66 and 72 degrees, the HVAC will just blow ambient air.”

If that’s true, and I’m skeptical, why would they program it to work like that?? I also told him that I read that some people have had trouble keeping the cabin warm when it’s really cold out and he said,

“In really cold environments we recommend people use Recirculate. Trying to warm 10 degree air from outside to 75 degrees before it reaches the cabin is hard and not energy efficient so the truck won’t be able to keep up. But recirculating the cabin air will allow the truck to warm the it gradually.”

You’d think this stuff would’ve been tested and figured out when they did their cold weather testing up in Baudette.
https://electrek.co/2021/02/27/rivian-tests-r1t-electric-pickup-in-sub-zero-temperatures/

But again, take this with a little salt. If what he said is accurate, hopefully they fix this with a software update soon.
I'm not sure that I believe most of what that CS person said... But for sake of argument, let's assume it's all "true"... That's silly and my question is "what is the point of 'auto' hvac, then?"
 

Marchin_MTB

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I'm not sure that I believe most of what that CS person said... But for sake of argument, let's assume it's all "true"... That's silly and my question is "what is the point of 'auto' hvac, then?"
Silly? Yes, very. But it would match a lot of our observations.
 

mindstormsguy

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That doesn’t make sense though, because if that’s what it was doing, it would never get above 32.

My observation is the same as OP. It blows warm at first, but as it gets within 10 or so degrees of the set point, it gives up.
 

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mikehmb

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“In really cold environments we recommend people use Recirculate. Trying to warm 10 degree air from outside to 75 degrees before it reaches the cabin is hard and not energy efficient so the truck won’t be able to keep up. But recirculating the cabin air will allow the truck to warm the it gradually.”
Thanks for posting this. They’re not wrong about the recirc being more efficient than outdoor air being heated up, though I need to ignore how bad of an idea that is from a CO2-buildup perspective.

I’m going to run another test this morning. Truck “cold-soaked” at a frigid 55 degrees in the garage last night. Truck goes Brr. LOL.

It’s in the high 30s here this morning so should be able to get a decent reading from my IR thermometer on the vents under various conditions in a short 8-mile drive around dropping the kid off @school.
 

CommodoreAmiga

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Thanks for posting this. They’re not wrong about the recirc being more efficient than outdoor air being heated up, though I need to ignore how bad of an idea that is from a CO2-buildup perspective.
"auto" hvac should be making these adjustments automatically. What Rivian is selling as "auto hvac" is laugable.
 

EVnewb

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Silly? Yes, very. But it would match a lot of our observations.
Agreed that it sounds silly, but I didn’t want to tell him that since he had just helped me out with the charger issue. 😅 After I got off the phone though I thought about tankless water heaters and how they have a similar issue. They can only raise the temperature of the water passing through them by X amount depending on the BTUs or wattage. I figured it might be possible that Rivian engineers put a smaller heater in for there to save space or energy? Huge difference heating water vs air I know, so then I thought about an electric space heater. Those suckers blow hot air even if they’re in a cold room so it went back to not making sense haha. And of course there’s the inconsistencies where some people are having the same issue and others are not.
 

Marchin_MTB

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Agreed that it sounds silly, but I didn’t want to tell him that since he had just helped me out with the charger issue. 😅 After I got off the phone though I thought about tankless water heaters and how they have a similar issue. They can only raise the temperature of the water passing through them by X amount depending on the BTUs or wattage. I figured it might be possible that Rivian engineers put a smaller heater in for there to save space or energy? Huge difference heating water vs air I know, so then I thought about an electric space heater. Those suckers blow hot air even if they’re in a cold room so it went back to not making sense haha. And of course there’s the inconsistencies where some people are having the same issue and others are not.
I totally agree. I guess I’m just grasping at straws as I try to puzzle out what my HVAC is doing. :)
 

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Perhaps Rivian should be hiring a few more automotive engineers and and a few less computer engineers. How difficult can this really be?
 

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Marchin_MTB

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Perhaps Rivian should be hiring a few more automotive engineers and and a few less computer engineers. How difficult can this really be?
I suspect that they had so many fish to fry in the rush to delivery that a bunch of software projects were delivered as “good enough and we can get back to this later with an OTA”. After all, it will warm and cool the cabin to a point. In a few months, it will be warmer and Rivian will have another 6 months to figure out the cold weather behavior. So my hope is that this is a software issue and not a hardware limitation.
 

CommodoreAmiga

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I suspect that they had so many fish to fry in the rush to delivery that a bunch of software projects were delivered as “good enough and we can get back to this later with an OTA”. After all, it will warm and cool the cabin to a point. In a few months, it will be warmer and Rivian will have another 6 months to figure out the cold weather behavior. So my hope is that this is a software issue and not a hardware limitation.
They delayed deliveries by over a year and blamed supply chains and logistics. If anything, they had extra time to dial in software. I shudder to think what the software would have looked like if they didn't have the pandemic to blame for delays.
 
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I suspect that they had so many fish to fry in the rush to delivery that a bunch of software projects were delivered as “good enough and we can get back to this later with an OTA”. After all, it will warm and cool the cabin to a point. In a few months, it will be warmer and Rivian will have another 6 months to figure out the cold weather behavior. So my hope is that this is a software issue and not a hardware limitation.
This is also my bet. Having released plenty of early software in the past, there’s what you get right, what you beg forgiveness for, and what you didn’t see coming. I put this in bucket 2, and then bucket 3 got full of other issues and they haven’t had a chance to go back to sort out all of 2 yet.

I’m optimistic it will get addressed. S00n.
 

SSteveEV

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This falls into the category of software I just want a basic system for until they get the "advanced" systems sorted

-HVAC- give me dedicated hot or cold or auto so I can cook myself as needed.
-cruise control- basic speed keeping (like tow mode)
-Audio-play off USB
-High beams- this one could be me but I struggle to not turn auto on and off while using them. Certain roads have too many reflective signs and it takes a long time to turn back to high.

Also that "silly" response does sound exactly like what mine does which is troubling. Except for the recirc that used to turn off after 3-5 min.
 
 




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