Real beauty, as they say, is inner beauty. And as attractive as the Rivian R1 Series models are already, with their 2025 updates, the real beauty is within. Though the R1S and R1T look pretty much the same as before, the upgrades underneath truly justify their "second-generation" title and make them almost new vehicles entirely.

As InsideEVs mentioned in our First Drive review yesterday, we're talking about a new LFP battery pack for the base models; a new three-motor variant to go with the dual- and quad-motor ones; a new software stack; and a whole new approach to parts networking and computing that yields 1.6 fewer miles of internal wiring per car

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Rivian's R1 updates need to close a gap

Like many EV startups, Rivian is struggling to become profitable and stay that way. Its planned mass-volume, mainstream models like the R2 and R3 should help there, but Rivian has to survive long enough to get them on the road. Can the updated R1S and R1T sell strongly enough to get them there?

That's an impressive achievement. It means reduced complexity, reduced costs to help with Rivian's profitability goals, better computing and, hopefully, some cheaper repairs. The last one has often been a major headache for R1S and R1T owners. 

But reading is one thing; it's a whole other thing to see how this looks in action. In this new video from CNET, veteran tech journalist (and EV newcomer!) Lexy Savvides checks out Rivian's Palo Alto lab. There, she gets up close with the new car's electrical architecture, software interface, AI-powered functions and more. 

zonal architecture

zonal architecture

One thing Savvides learned is that the R1 models now have seven ECU modules, down from 17 before as Rivian continues to evolve its zonal architecture setup. That's a rethinking of vehicle design for EVs that organizes computing power by location in the car, not function (thermal controls, autonomous driving, etc.), which reduces complexity and allows for more advanced software features. Tesla has been at this for years and now more and more automakers are catching on to its benefits. 

All of that happens before Savvides gets a go behind the wheel. Spoiler alert: she likes it a lot. And she's just in a Dual Motor version, not even the crazy fast one variants. I'd say it sets the bar pretty high for your first EV experience.

Do you think these changes to the 2025 R1 models are enough to generate enough hype and sales until the more mainstream R2 and R3 come out?

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