Rivian previews modular hardware for dual-motor electric trucks

Rivian recently previewed the hardware for the dual-motor powertrain it plans to begin offering for its R1T electric pickup truck and R1S electric SUV alongside the existing quad-motor setup in the coming year.

The company tweeted a short video “progress report,” in which principal drive unit design engineer Mason Verbridge said components were undergoing final validation testing. Production is scheduled to start in a few months, and a production line for these drive units is currently being set up at Rivian’s Illinois factory, Verbridge said in the video. 

Progress report: When our Dual-Motor AWD system is introduced for R1T and R1S next year, you’ll be able to choose a standard version capable of 600 hp and 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, or an enhanced version that increases horsepower to approx. 700 hp and 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. pic.twitter.com/Lz4FE06tIe

— Rivian (@Rivian) December 26, 2022

Each drive unit has a single motor, and one unit will be installed on each axle to create a dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrain. In the tweet, Rivian said it will offer a “standard version” with 600 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque capable of 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, which matches previously-mentioned specs. But the company now says it will also offer an “enhanced version” with 700 hp and 700 lb-ft, bringing the 0-60 mph time down to 3.5 seconds.

Rivian also recently made the 180-kwh Max Pack battery the only one available with the dual-motor powertrain in R1T pickups. It’s expected to start building vehicles in that configuration later in 2023.

Rivian single-motor drive unit

Rivian single-motor drive unit

Rivian has rejiggered its build combinations and pricing various times, and in March 2022 confirmed some initial details about its in-house-developed dual-motor technology. That was after price hikes in February and March of 2022—when it raised prices up to 20% from what was originally suggested, and introduced dual-motor versions as a substitute for the quad-motor trucks that were suddenly substantially costlier. The company eventually backtracked to lock existing reservation-holders in with the original pricing.

Rivian is also making running changes to its vehicles, mostly via software updates. It recently confirmed that quad-motor trucks will get a range boost after an EPA retest. The anticipated new 328-mile range for the R1T makes it the range leader among electric pickups for now, if you don’t count the GMC Hummer EV’s 329-mile EPA result, which is unofficial as it isn’t a light truck.

Rivian single-motor drive unit

Rivian single-motor drive unit


Rivian’s trucks were developed around a 400-volt battery pack and system voltage. But as CEO RJ Scaringe told Green Car Reports way back in 2018, the trucks were designed from the start for an eventual upgrade to 800 volts—at least for charging and the battery pack itself. Rivian then said that it was working on both in-house battery calls—something that could potentially help lower prices in the future, perhaps.

The company also plans to use the dual-motor components as part of its plan to emphasize affordability, economics, and efficiency with its second model line, the R2, set to be built at its upcoming Georgia plant.

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