Through its latest software update officially rolling out Monday to its R1S electric SUV and R1T electric pickup, Rivian is introducing an overhaul to its drive mode interface plus a “reimagined towing experience” that makes modes accessible (and useful) during towing.
The changes, which are part of release 2023.38.0, bring a shift of the Drive Mode controls to the far left of the screen, allowing users to flick left and right between them to quickly bring up the desired one while keeping eyes on the road. It’s also added a cockpit-like Gauge View that displays a wide range of gauge-readout widgets at once. They include battery and motor temperature, torque, steering angle, and tire pressure, as well as pitch and roll gauges for off-road modes.
With the update, Rivian is allowing the use of specialized off-road drive modes—Snow, Soft Sand, All-Terrain, or Rock Crawl—while towing a trailer. Range estimates may be a lot more consistent, too, as the truck now automatically detects the trailer weight, allowing for aerodynamics and drag, and it learns over time the efficiency and range of towing each trailer per drive mode, with up to three trailer profiles and one accessory.
“These updates make it easier to quickly choose the Drive Mode that’s right for your adventure and make adjustments on the fly—whether you’re towing your boat to the lake, pulling a camper across bumpy backcountry roads, or cruising without cargo in tow,” Rivian sums.
The R1S SUV can tow up to 7,700 pounds, and the R1T pickup can tow up to 11,000 pounds.
While Rivian has proven these trucks’ towing by taking a 30-foot trailer with 11,000 pounds over Davis Dam Grade at up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit, for instance, some grades on gravel backroads might potentially be demanding in other ways, so it’s great to see the company having confidence in more use cases.
The rear-facing bed-view camera can now also be enabled all the time while towing, so that periodic checks on tricky loads can be made.
Separately, Rivian has increased the accuracy of charging data and the resolution of the corresponding graph in its mobile app. And it might have snuck a Halloween theme into the in-dash interface.
Rivian emphasizes that its vehicle software keeps improving and evolving due to direct feedback from owners, so if you don’t like how a system works or simply see a way to do it better on the test drive, drop the EV upstart a note. One of its most significant updates yet arrived in September, with Rivian ride and handling improvements.
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