Rivian has announced a new Sand Mode feature for the R1T electric pickup and R1S electric SUV. Coming as part of a future over-the-air (OTA) update, the standard feature was teased by Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe on Twitter via a short video.
The film shows a Rivian R1S powersliding in the sand, with the rear wheels visibly spinning much faster than the front wheels. This is obviously made possible by the Rivian's quad-motor setup, although RJ Scaringe did not offer any details except that Sand Mode will come standard.
Sand Mode is expected to enhance the R1S and R1T's ability to navigate sandy beaches and deserts, in addition to helping the vehicle get unstuck from sand. Seeing as it will be pushed as an over-the-air update, this mode likely involves only software upgrades.
Expect Rivian's Sand Mode to optimize accelerator response, traction, and stability controls to assist in maintaining forward momentum. It remains to be seen if Sand Mode will also include the ability to drop tire pressure automatically in order to increase grip.
In addition to Sand Mode, RJ Scaringe also confirmed that Rivian will soon introduce a pet mode for the HVAC system and a dashcam feature using the Gear Guard array of cameras fitted to the R1T and R1S. These two features sound similar to their equivalents from Tesla—Dog Mode and Dashcam. The executive did not say whether all these new features will come bundled in the same OTA update or will arrive separately.
Delivery delays for R1S/R1T models with Ocean Coast interiors
In other news, Rivian sent out a letter to reservation holders announcing that deliveries of vehicles equipped with the Ocean Coast interior will start later this fall.
"The light wood in Ocean Coast is more challenging to produce, so in order to move faster, we are focusing initially on producing with Black Mountain and Forest Edge."
This means Rivian will start producing Adventure Package vehicles alongside Launch Edition models over the next few months. It also means that some Adventure Package customers may take delivery before those who preordered Launch Edition models with Ocean Coast interiors.
The letter signed by head of Rivian customer engagement Tony Caravano and picked up by Rivian Forums informs reservation holders with a delivery window in 2022 that the company will be reaching out in late May to confirm the build configuration.
"If you're flexible on certain options, you may be able to take delivery sooner. If you love your original configuration and prefer to stick with it, then no action is required on your part—we'll simply continue to update you on your estimated delivery timing."
While some preorder holders will not be happy with the latest news, Rivian argues that these decisions were made with the goal of maximizing production output in spite of supply challenges. To that end, Rivian says it is using more batching of exterior colors and wheel options, as building in few combinations reduces complexity with suppliers and in the plant. Ultimately, this allows the company to build a greater number of vehicles.