When I received Rivian's invitation to attend the First-Drive event for its second-generation 2025 R1S and R1T, my first instinct was to chuckle at the fact that they were calling them "Gen 2" and not just a "refresh" or an "update."

However, when I arrived at the event and learned how much the vehicles improved, I began to understand why Rivian bills them as an entirely new generation of electric trucks. As the event went on and I had the opportunity to speak with Rivian product experts and drive the vehicles on-road, off-road, and on-track at the Pacific Raceway, it became clear this was more than the typical mid-cycle refresh—much more. 

(Full Disclosure: Rivian provided travel and lodging to Seattle along with other journalists for the First Drive event of the second-generation R1T and R1S.)

I've owned a 2022 Rivian R1T and sold it when I got the chance to upgrade to a 2023 R1S, so I know both vehicles inside and out. That said, I'm really surprised that Rivian was able to make so many major upgrades after only two years of production.

That's great news for those interested in purchasing a new Rivian, but current owners, myself included, are going to feel like we've got old tech once they get the opportunity to check out the 2025 R1 models. 

2025 Rivian R1T and R1S hero shot

2025 Gen 2 Rivian R1T and R1S

A New Generation For Rivian

Rivian completely revamped the vehicle's electrical architecture and reduced the number of Electronic Control Units (ECUs) from 17 to seven. In doing so, Rivian was able to eliminate 1.6 miles of copper wiring, which not only reduced cost, but the wire alone shaved 44 pounds off the weight of the vehicle. 

All R1 vehicles now come standard with a heat pump system which will improve efficiency, especially during the colder months. 

The second-generation R1T and R1S also get a new Nvidia-powered software stack capable of performing 250 trillion tasks per second. The system has 10 times the computing power of the first-generation vehicles. There's one more camera than the original vehicles had, bringing the total up to 11. They have a much higher resolution, as well as five radar systems. The Highway Assist system can now provide a 360-degree view for the driver. 

The vehicles have revised air springs and suspension tuning to offer a more supple on-road experience without diminishing the off-road capabilities.  

Rivian Gen 2 Powertrains

Rivian Gen 2 Powertrains

Then there are the battery packs. Rivian is using improved cells in its nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) battery packs, which have a higher energy density. Plus, the dual-motor, standard-pack vehicles will now come with a battery pack that uses Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) cells, the first time the automaker has used this chemistry in its vehicles. 

Additionally, the new R1 vehicles now have three different powertrain configurations. In addition to the current dual and quad-motor layouts, an all-new tri-motor variant was introduced. 

It's also important to note that with the second-generation vehicles, Rivian now makes all of its motors in-house. Previously, only the dual-motor vehicles used Rivian motors, while the quad-motor R1T and R1S used motors sourced from Bosch. 

Configuration Horsepower Torque 0-60 mph 
Dual Motor 533 610 4.5 sec
Dual Motor Performance 665 829 3.4 sec
Tri-Motor 850 1,103 2.9 sec
Quad Motor 1,025 1,198 <2.5 sec

Rivian's oil-cooled motors boost the quad-motor's horsepower output from 835 hp to 1,025 hp and its torque rating from 908 lb-ft to a staggering 1,198 lb-ft. 

Numerous other improvements include an all-new LED lighting system on the front and rear of the vehicles, new interior options, a whole new lineup of tire/wheel options, and an all-new user interface that employs Rivian's new cel-shading technique, which was developed by Unreal Engine.

Rivian's new cel-shading UI that's powered by Unreal Engine

There's also an optional electrochromic glass roof that darkens at the touch of a button, which, coming from a current Rivian owner, is a welcome addition. 

While at the first drive event, I had the opportunity to spend some time inside a new R1S with Greg Dachner, Rivian's R1 vehicle line director, and Wassym Bensiad, Rivian's VP of Software. I recorded our conversations and asked both men to explain the R1 upgrades and why they were necessary. 

Check out the video and let us know what you think about the new "Gen 2" R1 vehicles in the comments. 

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