We believe in Rivian's battery design, but apparently, some question it.

Called into question is the design of the Rivian R1T electric truck and R1S electric SUV battery packs. Are there really design considerations that need to be fixed?

Well, if there are, we believe in Rivian and its team of engineers enough to say a fix will be implemented prior to launch. However, we're not sure there's an issue here.

The video focuses on cooling of the cells in connection to the unique 2170 double stack. The cooling side has been only partially explained by Rivian. What we do know is that the cooling plate is there to support the cells above. This doesn't necessarily imply that cooling ends there though (see graphic below with blue spacing between cells). There could be additional between-cell cooling. We're just not quite sure if that's the case yet.

We should further note that thermal runaway events have not often been reported with 2170 Tesla cells. It was seemingly more common with the 18650 cells and, in particular, with the Model S, a low-slung vehicle that has its share of objects impact the battery.

Lastly, Rivian has a different approach to battery protection and, of course, much better ground clearance than the Model S. To protect the battery, Rivian states:

The pack uses a carbon composite shell and a “ballistic shield

Looking Back

As we reported in an earlier article the pack is indeed a 2170 double stack. A 7 mm flat cooling plate is sandwiched in between the 2 layers of cells.

Rivian R1T & R1S: Is Electric Battery Pack Designed Right? Video

Rivian’s solution to battery thermal management is the use of a cold plate that’s placed between two battery cells. A single cooling system chills both layers of cells at the same time. According to Rivian, this reduces the amount of energy needed to power the system, thereby allowing the car to have better range in all types of conditions. In addition to saving power, the cooling system’s design allows for tighter packaging of cells within the modules. According to Farquhar, Rivian’s unique packaging allows the module to be 25% denser than any other battery module on the market. 

 The different kWh pack sizes are made by including different numbers of modules. Each module has 864, 2170 cells (432 cells in each layer).

Although not verified by Rivian, customs import records indicate LG Chem is the manufacturer.

What About Battery Heating Though

What we lack knowledge on is what Rivian refers to an as advanced heating system. Rivian is not yet openly sharing that heating info, other than to basically say that cold weather won't impact the range of the R1T or R1S.

Again, we must mention that battery heating is surely included in Rivian's design. However, the details on this seem a bit under the wraps still. But we were told to expect the strongest cold-weather performance of any EV from Rivian. This was before the LA debut, back when we visited Rivan's facilities in Plymouth, Michigan. Unfortunately, even still today, that info is largely off the records and under wraps. We do expect this battery heating info to become known well ahead of the sales of the R1T and R1S though.

Order Away

Go ahead and place that pre-order (and discuss it on our Rivian pre-order thread on our forum here). We have confidence in Rivian's engineering abilities.

It's not as though Rivian sprung to life yesterday. The company is a decade old, ya know.