Thanks to over-the-air software updates, vehicles can get new features or improved performance even after being delivered to customers.
An example of that is the latest 2022.11.02 software update for the Rivian R1T all-electric pickup, released this month and examined by Out of Spec Reviews.
According to Kyle Conner, among various changes, Rivian has increased the maximum DC fast charging current from 450 A to 500 A, which is expected to slightly increase the rate of range replenishing.
The previous test, with the initial software, revealed that the Rivian R1T was able to charge at up to around 450 A and nearly 200 kW. Now, we saw that it can take 498 A right away at a low state-of-charge, which combined with around 400 V is over 200 kW - 204 kW at 14% SOC to be specific. The peak (according to the charger's display) was about 217 kW, above 40% SOC. That's actually very close to the 210 kW peak value declared in technical papers.
However, the question is whether this change has any significant impact on charging time? Well, it's a bit complex, because first there must be a charger that can provide the maximum charging current.
Then, we must realize that a higher peak will translate into faster charging only in the initial phase of charging. That's because there are other limitations than current - including thermal limitations.
We don't have data of a full charging session to determine an estimated rough difference, but brief measures provided in the video (called "theoretical curves") indicate an expected result - faster charging from the start (and related to it, a faster increase in the temperature of the battery) triggers some power/current limits earlier and then charging power decreases in a similar way to the previous tests.
In other words, there are some gains in the beginning, but not groundbreaking ones, especially if someone would like to charge up to 70-80% SOC or more. Nonetheless, Rivian is unlocking the full potential of its vehicles, which is always a positive sign.
Rivian R1T specs:
EPA: 314 miles (505 km)
400+ miles (644+ km) version (2023)
250+ mile (402+ km) affordable version to follow
- battery capacity of about 135 kWh
9 modules, 2170-type cylindrical cells (7,776), supplied by Samsung SDI
voltage: 216-459 V; capacity: 360 Ah
- 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 3.0 seconds
- quad motor, all-wheel drive
four asynchronous motors (one per wheel for full torque vectoring)
- system output of up to about 562 kW
(four motors - 162-163 kW each for a raw total of 650 kW)
- on-board charger: 11.5 kW (AC Level 2); up to 25 miles of range per hour of charge
- DC fast charging: up to 140 miles of range in 20 minutes (up to 210 kW)
- wading depth: 3+ ft (more than 0.91 m)
- curb weight: 6,949 lbs (3,152 kg)
- towing capacity: up to 11,000 lbs (4,990 kg)