Swapping out battery packs

bajadahl

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First - I realize that the battery pack is one of the most expensive parts of the car (if not the single most expensive part/group of parts).

Things "I think" we already know:
Rivian does not intend to support upgrades from smaller battery packs to larger battery pack.
The battery packs are removable and can be removed in about 30 minutes. (I assume by a qualified tech)

But I am still curious if it would be technically possible to trade up batteries as technology advances.... for instance if within the next five years Rivian starts making Solid State Battery packs or some other battery pack with improved technology would it be technically possible to swap out the pack for one with more range but in the same form factor? Let's say solid state batteries, Li-S, or some other tech with much higher energy density becomes readily available. Assuming a 5x increase in density the 180kWh pack could be replaced with a 900kWh pack also increasing the range to a ridiculous 2000 miles all else being equal. I understand it could certainly be cost prohibitive for many and the inevitable question why not just buy the newest model vehicle with the new battery for those who could afford it, however, I could see in many cases where someone would want to improve their range with their existing vehicle.
The other "thing" I think might need to be replaced is the actual charger as I am not sure if it is built into the battery pack or is in some other part of the vehicle but I imagine with a much higher density battery a 160kWh charger would not be sufficient to charge the thing.

What else might need to changed out on the car for something like this to be a reality?
 

DucRider

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Possibly other components that might need to be changed:
  • Charging hardware and software
  • Battery management software
  • Thermal management software and hardware

plus who know how much other programming or computer modules.
 

Coast2Coast

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bajadahl and DucRider, I think you're talking about the holy grail of BEVs - swappable and, hopefully, affordable battery packs. If Rivian could offer this, and few others were able to, it would constitute a huge competitive advantage.

But I don't think the possibility rests in the hands of Rivian. It's more in the hands of battery suppliers. They determine battery chemistry; they collaborate with auto firms on battery packaging. Rivian decides, as DucRider points out, charging hardware and software, BMS and thermal management software and hardware.

So, yes, swappable and affordable battery packs are highly desirable, but the likelihood of having them will depend on with which battery firms Rivian partners, and the quality & depth of those partnerships. Collaboration on custom battery solutions assumes a high level and deep partnership. Rivian will have plenty of clout in those partnerships, but Rivian still has to choose the right partners. As discussed elsewhere in the forum, Rivian will likely have a single battery partner initially. Fingers crossed, it's the right one.
 

electruck

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Possibly other components that might need to be changed:
  • Charging hardware and software
  • Battery management software
  • Thermal management software and hardware

plus who know how much other programming or computer modules.
Exactly, this wouldn't be like swapping from an Energizer AA alkaline to a Lithium AA in a digital camera. The entire power train is fine tuned around the characteristics of the battery pack. While we are accustomed to changing batteries in flashlights, cameras and other portable electronics, we don't expect Toyota to support upgrading the last generation Camry with the more efficient 4-cylinder engine from the current model and that's really the more appropriate analogy here.
 
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