What We Do Not Know - Important Information Still Needed to Make an Informed Decision

photontorque

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I thought I would start a complementary thread to the excellent “What We Know - Collecting Information Directly From Rivian” maintained by Hexijen. In particular, I thought it would be helpful to track questions for which we don’t have answers. To manage the scope of “what we don’t know”, some general guidelines:
  • Consider what information is normally available when purchasing a new vehicle, and whether or not Rivian has provided that information.
  • What is reasonable information to expect from a new car company.
  • What is reasonable information to expect about the emerging industry of EVs and their charging networks.
  • And it goes without saying, though I'll say it anyway, keep it to Rivian.
The idea is to collate open questions that, if – nay, when! – answered will help all potential buyers be better informed.

I’ll follow the format of “general” topics, R1S topics, and R1T topics, and seed the initial list with items that are common across multiple threads. Apologies to the R1T folks, I’ve mostly been following the R1S.


January 14, 2021 - edits to this list include questions from posts through this date.


General
  • The mystery of the glass roof
    • we know it’s not electrochromatic. Website currently says both “panoramic” and “all-glass”, both of which reference geometry and not tint. Is it a fixed tint, or is there some variable tint? Response from Rivian has been mixed. Also, there’s no information about design: safety, durability, insulation.
  • Other window tint options.
  • two-way charging options
  • what functionality will be controlled by physical buttons/knobs/etc. and what functionality will be touch-screen driven?
  • Possible hardware options (post your specific requests):
    • ski racks, bike racks
  • Possible software options:
    • What in-car / in-app functionality will exist?
  • How will Rivian implement over the air (OTA) updates?
    • How often should we expect OTA updates?
    • How long will Rivian support OTA updates for vehicles? (will a 2021 model ever become obsolescent?)
  • what will be the pricing for 4G connectivity?
  • Driver+:
    • capabilities at launch
    • cost and plans for upgrades post launch
  • Rivian Adventure Network (RAN):
    • locations
    • will the network be permanently or temporarily (or never) free to Rivian owners?
    • if RAN isn't free, what is the pricing?
  • Warranty:
    • what will be covered and for how long?
  • Repair:
    • What repair options will exist?
  • Privacy / data collection:
    • Will Rivian have opt-out / opt-in choices for data collection?
    • How will they protect data they collect?
  • Security:
    • What security protocols exist to prevent hacking the vehicle and/or the apps used to interface with the vehicle?
    • does Rivian have 3rd parties auditing their software?
    • will Rivian support phone unlocking / locking?
    • will Rivian support 3rd party capabilities (e.g. Apple Car key)?
  • Safety:
    • what are the hardware safety capabilities of the vehicles?
    • what kind of software testing has occurred to ensure bugs don't crash the vehicle?
    • will Rivian offer a bug bounty system?
  • Financing options:
    • What financing options will be available?
  • what is the delivery or destination & documentation fee?
  • data on towing efficiency, or at least clarification on the ~half reduction Rivian has quoted -- what was the weight and type of towed system that resulted in a 2x reduction in range?
  • clarification and details on regen-towing
  • range, performance, and handling differences between the 3 sets of tires


R1S
  • Battery size/range, cost, and when available for the R1S 7-seater version of the “max” battery pack:
    • Rivian surprised everyone by saying “After launch, we’ll announce the timing of our 250+ mile and longer range R1S, also with seven seats.” Meaning something larger than the 135 kWh, now known as “large”, will be available for the 7-seater version of the R1S. For those interested in both the longer range and the 7 seats, it would be quite helpful (essential?!) to understand the range, cost, and availability/timing differences between the Launch Edition (LE) and “max” versions before having to commit to the LE
  • What additional cargo space does the 5-seat option offer over the 7-seat. Additionally, what dimension is it? Open space, under floor storage, etc?
  • where are the power outlets and their ratings in the R1S?
  • Will there be a price reduction, or credit towards another option, when selecting the 5-person R1S vs. the 7-person R1S?


R1T

Your comments will help fill this out.





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Gshenderson

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Battery efficiency reduction when towing. They did that massive rally, so they have the data. They released all kinds of performance info, but nothing on battery efficiency. I can only assume that it wasn’t good.
 

DucRider

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Battery efficiency reduction when towing. They did that massive rally, so they have the data. They released all kinds of performance info, but nothing on battery efficiency. I can only assume that it wasn’t good.
They've stated up to 50%. This will of course vary greatly based on the weight, shape/aero, terrain, towing speed, etc. Don't expect a specific number (not provided on ICE vehicles either, but the physics are the same).
 

Dirtman16

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Regarding the R1S, I'd like some clarity on a couple of issues.

1) What additional cargo space does the 5-seat option offer over the 7-seat. Additionally, what dimension is it? Open space, under floor storage, etc?
2) Where are any included power inverters and what are their power outputs?
 

Coast2Coast

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One of the biggest questions on the two row R1S is pricing or in lieu of a price reduction, a credit for buying stuff, like blacked out wheels, roof racks, etc.

A third row seat represents considerable value. Seat frames and upholstery, hinging mechanism, seat belts, air bags and so on. When you give up the third row, you may be able to add more battery packs. That's how I'd spend my credit.

The point is a third row seat represents a couple thousand or more in value. If one chooses a two row R1S, over a third row LE R1S, there needs to be a reduction in price or a compensatory credit.
 

ajdelange

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Battery efficiency reduction when towing. They did that massive rally, so they have the data.
Battery efficiency decreases a bit when towing as it does from anything that increases the load on the battery.

They released all kinds of performance info, but nothing on battery efficiency. I can only assume that it wasn’t good.
I am sure they have tons of data on battery "efficiency" as a function of charge and discharge rate, temperature and number of charge/discharge cycles. Suppose I tell you the pack impedance is 5 mΩ at 25 °C and 50 mΩ at 5 °C. What would you do with that information? What we really want to see is firmer Wh/mi data and as that is very competitive they are going to keep it under their hats until ready to go for EPA certification.
 

ajdelange

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2) Where are any included power inverters and what are their power outputs?
I don't think you really care where the inverters are but rather where the outlets are. I think there are three - one in the bed, one in the tunnel and the third in the cabin.

I am already a bit disappointed that they are 120V only but would also like very much to know how much power they can deliver.
 

Gshenderson

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I am sure they have tons of data on battery "efficiency" as a function of charge and discharge rate, temperature and number of charge/discharge cycles. Suppose I tell you the pack impedance is 5 mΩ at 25 °C and 50 mΩ at 5 °C. What would you do with that information? What we really want to see is firmer Wh/mi data and as that is very competitive they are going to keep it under their hats until ready to go for EPA certification.
What would be more interesting and valuable to the average consumer would be what was the difference in rated miles consumption between an x mile tow with y lbs vs. just driving without a load. From that, even non math majors can calculate the drop in efficiency / increase in consumption. For example, it consumed 100 miles of rated charge to go 80 miles without a load and consumed 150 miles to do the same 80 miles with 5000 lbs on a trailer. Therefore there was a 50% increase in consumption. So now I, Joe Consumer, know that the 300 mile battery pack will likely only get me 150-200 miles if I’m towing 5000 lbs under similar environmental and terrain conditions. “Efficiency” probably wasn’t the best term to use. It’s really “consumption”.

For anyone planning to tow, this kind of information will be critical in determining whether we opt for the LE with 300 mile battery or wait for the 400 mile option. Again, I can only assume that they have this kind of data given all the towing testing they’ve done and other towing “performance” metrics they’ve released.
 

ajdelange

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What would be more interesting and valuable to the average consumer would be what was the difference in rated miles consumption between an x mile tow with y lbs vs. just driving without a load. From that, even non math majors can calculate the drop in efficiency / increase in consumption.
It takes X units of energy to move a tractor a unit distance. If the tractor has a reservoir of Z units of energy available for traction on board its range is Z/X. It takes Y units of energy to move a trailer one unit of distance. Towed by the tractor the total energy consumption is X + Y and the range is Z/(X + Y) = (Z/X)/(1 + Y/X) which means the range is reduced by a factor of (1 + Y/X). Thus if the trailer consumes as much energy as the tractor the range will be reduced by a factor of 2 (cut in half).

At this point we have neither X, Y or Z. Rivian knows X an Y but at this point they aren't talking for reasons discussed in my earlier post. They used, until fairly recently, to talk of a 135 kWh battery so Z is around that. They also speak of range of 300 miles so X is around 135000/300 = 450 Wh/mi. Now how about Y? That depends entirely on the trailer and how you drive it. It has nothing to do with Rivian. They don't have any data on what trailer you might want to hook up and whether you want to run it up and down hill at 60 mpH or along level back roads at 40 mph. How can Rivian tell us what to expect in any meaningful way.

About the best I can offer is to suppose you are towing another R1T behind yours. It's pretty clear that Y is going to be pretty close to X in this case so that range will be reduced by a factor of (1 + X/X) = 2 - cut in half- for this special case. Perhaps you can extrapolate intuitively from that. Otherwise about all you can do is try to figure out what Y will be by towing the trailer either behind an ICE truck or behind a BEV and monitoring energy consumption.

If I run elaborate Monte Carlo simulations under a set of parameters I consider to be reasonable for trailers the answers tend to come out around a factor of 2 so that sort of leads to the conclusion that figuring on that as a starting number until you get hard data with your trailer and your driving conditions may not be a bad idea.





For anyone planning to tow, this kind of information will be critical in determining whether we opt for the LE with 300 mile battery or wait for the 400 mile option.
Assuming a nominal reduction by a factor of 2 the 300 mile truck might give you 150 with the trailer and the 400 an estimated 200. If the difference is Z/X is 100 miles between the two models the difference when towing will be that divided by the facto: 50 miles for a factor of 2; 33.3 for a factor of 3 and so on. It's pretty clear to me that if you can afford it and are willing to wait another 6 months you should go for the 400 mile version. It's so clear to me that I am floored by Rivian's decision to go with the lower range model for the launch.


Again, I can only assume that they have this kind of data given all the towing testing they’ve done and other towing “performance” metrics they’ve released.
Yes, they probably have quite a bit of date on Z and X and even we, the public, have a pretty good idea as to what those numbers are but neither we nor Rivian have any idea as to what's a reasonable Y value for you. They may have a handful of data collected on some trailer driven with some load in some way but those numbers aren't going to be useful to you.
 

Gshenderson

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but those numbers aren't going to be useful to you.
I disagree. They would be useful to me. I can extrapolate my situation based on the information they provide. The topic of this post is things we would like RIVIAN to answer. I wasn’t looking for an answer from anyone on here. I was simply stating that I would like Rivian to provide more information or data regarding their towing tests. Again, they provided all kinds of information regarding the performance of the truck while towing. I assume because that benefits their marketing. What I need to understand in order to make a more informed purchase decision (again, the topic of this thread) is at what energy cost was that performance achieved. I’m sure they have the data, why not disclose it? I can only assume that it’s because it doesn’t benefit their marketing.

Thanks for the math and engineering lessons though!
 

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One of the biggest questions on the two row R1S is pricing or in lieu of a price reduction, a credit for buying stuff, like blacked out wheels, roof racks, etc.

A third row seat represents considerable value. Seat frames and upholstery, hinging mechanism, seat belts, air bags and so on. When you give up the third row, you may be able to add more battery packs. That's how I'd spend my credit.

The point is a third row seat represents a couple thousand or more in value. If one chooses a two row R1S, over a third row LE R1S, there needs to be a reduction in price or a compensatory credit.
While they might surprise me, I wouldn't hold my breath for a price reduction or option credits for the 2 row version. They are also redesigning to accommodate the "Max" battery pack with 3rd row seating and my expectations are that they will use this same pack for both 2 and 3 row versions and that it will end up offering less than 400 miles of range (but still more than the 300+ "Large" pack). Otherwise they would make the same 400+ mile "Max" pack used in the R1T available in the R1S starting in 1/2022 which they have not.
 

ajdelange

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I disagree. They would be useful to me. I can extrapolate my situation based on the information they provide.
The problem is that this "anecdotal" information isn't really as useful as you think it is. Rivian understans that and understands that lay people like yourself are likely to draw erroneous conclusions from the sort of data I think you are looking for. Their problem, in today's world, is that people often draw erroneous conclusions from annexdotal data like this and then try to blame the manufacturer for the consequences of their errors. This is why they don't give you the data (and why they won't even talk about battery size any more).e

The topic of this post is things we would like RIVIAN to answer. I wasn’t looking for an answer from anyone on here.
What you want, and what you eventually will get, is a ensemble of anecdotal trailering reports from actual users You can compare those that reflect situations and equipment similar to yours.

Again, they provided all kinds of information regarding the performance of the truck while towing. I assume because that benefits their marketing. What I need to understand in order to make a more informed purchase decision (again, the topic of this thread) is at what energy cost was that performance achieved.
I guess I don't know what kind of performance information you are speaking of? Do you mean things like 0 - 60 times while towing? Speed going up a hill? ???

For now use a factor of 2 in your calculations and recognize that rain, head wind, grade and especially a heavy foot can increase that considerably. Look at consumption data from your Tesla experience.
 
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Coast2Coast

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@electruck, are you saying that 2 row and 3 row versions will be priced the same even though one forgoes a third row seat that obviously has value? Even if the R1S is being redesigned to accommodate the "Max" battery pack, if we've locked in a LE R1S, it is priced with 3 rows of seating.

Seats, seat belts, air bags, folding mechanisms have value. If those are given up for a "Max" pack, some credits are due. If those are given up without any credits, that's wrong. We've been charged for something, in the LE, that we did not receive.
 
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Driver +

I would like to know more than what is found on the website:

"With Driver+ engaged, your vehicle will automatically steer, adjust speed, and change lanes on your command. Driver+, like all driver assistance systems, requires your full attention on the road. You should not use a hand-held device behind the wheel."

Seems like this is limited release at launch? And equates very closely to Tesla's base Autopilot - "Enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane."

While Driver+ is not selling anything similar to Tesla's Full Self Driving, I do like this from the website " Through over-the-air updates, we’ll add more over time at no cost to you.", so perhaps there will be future FSD like enhancements at no additional cost? (or is this too good to be true)
 

davrow_R1T

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If those are given up without any credits, that's wrong. We've been charged for something, in the LE, that we did not receive.
It doesn't work like that. Price is not based on value or on cost. It is based on what people will pay. You will receive everything you pay for. If you don't like the price, don't buy it. It is that simple.
 

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