Hi there! Looking at buying a new Rivian R1T electric pickup? One of the biggest decisions you‘ll need to make is whether to go with the Standard or Large battery pack. I‘ve taken an in-depth look at the key differences between the R1T‘s two battery options to help you choose the best fit. Let‘s dive in!
Overview of the Exciting New Rivian R1T
In case you‘re not familiar, the R1T is an electric pickup from Rivian, a startup automaker aiming to lead the EV truck revolution. Rivian burst onto the scene in 2021 with the debut of the R1T and its sister SUV, the R1S.
The R1T combines heavy-duty pickup capability with high-tech features and blistering performance. We‘re talking 0-60 mph in as little as 3 seconds thanks to up to 800 horsepower on tap. Towing capacity is a stout 11,000 pounds. The R1T also excels off-road with up to 14.9 inches of ground clearance.
On the tech side, the R1T packs cool innovations like a gear tunnel for extra lockable storage and a built-in compressor for airing up tires. There are also lots of luxury options like leather seats, an advanced driver display, and hands-free highway driving assistance.
Overall, the R1T aims to redefine expectations for what an electric truck can offer. Now let‘s compare what‘s under the hood when it comes to batteries.
Comparing the R1T‘s Standard vs Large Battery Packs
The R1T gives you two lithium-ion battery pack options:
|Standard Pack||Large Pack|
|Battery Capacity||105 kWh||135 kWh|
|Range (EPA Est.)||260+ miles||320+ miles|
|Dual Motor Availability||Standard||Optional (+$6,000)|
|Quad Motor Availability||–||Standard|
With a 60+ mile advantage in estimated range, the Large Pack provides more driving distance between charges. But it also tacks an extra $6,000 onto the R1T‘s $67,500 starting MSRP. Let‘s analyze how these battery options stack up across some key criteria:
Range and Daily Driving
The Standard Pack‘s 260+ mile EPA-estimated range is plenty for most people‘s daily needs. The average American drives about 29 miles per day in 2021, per the U.S. Department of Transportation. Even adding weekend trips and other driving, the Standard Pack easily covers typical daily use.
Of course, your specific range requirements may vary. Folks with longer work commutes or who frequently drive farther for work/leisure will benefit more from the Large Pack‘s extra 60+ miles of range. Those whose regular driving stays closer to home can likely get by just fine with the Standard Pack and save $6k.
In warmer climates like California, Arizona, and Florida, cold weather won‘t sap as much range in winter. But for R1T owners in northern states, having that extra winter buffer could prove handy.
Towing, Hauling and Off-Roading Performance
While the Standard Pack meets most basic driving needs, Rivian pitches the R1T as much more – an adventure-ready truck ready for towing, hauling, and off-roading. In these more demanding use cases, the Large Pack‘s extra juice provides more flexibility.
Towing range is a good example. Towing a heavy trailer, RV, or boat can reduce range substantially – up to 50% per Edmunds testing of electric trucks. Having 60+ more miles to work with from the Large Pack makes it less likely you‘ll run out of electrons on the way to your destination.
Overlanding and rock crawling drain battery too compared to normal highway cruising. With the R1T‘s sophisticated quad-motor AWD system and high ground clearance, it can traverse rugged terrain. But constantly accelerating/braking off-road and running climate control uses up miles quicker. Serious off-roaders will sleep better at night knowing they have the Large Pack‘s added range.
Charging Infrastructure Gaps
One downside for EVs currently is a lack of ubiquitous fast charging, especially on road trips. While networks are expanding, gaps still exist in many areas.
Regions like California with more build-out make relying on the Standard Pack‘s range more feasible. But in other areas with sparse chargers, the Large Pack provides more wiggle room.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are about 48,000 public EV charging ports nationwide as of 2021. However, only about 6,800 of these are DC fast chargers. That leaves big stretches of highway with few quick charging options. The Large Pack allows you to go a little further between stops when traveling long distances, offering more flexibility.
Cold Weather Driving Efficiency
Lithium-ion batteries lose charging capacity and driving range in very cold temperatures. Experts estimate range can drop 20-50% compared to normal conditions depending on the vehicle.
The R1T does not yet use an advanced heat pump climate system to reduce this loss. So cold snaps likely cut range substantially, making the Large Pack‘s extra buffer beneficial in northern states. Slow charging in the cold makes the extra juice even more valuable.
One study by AAA found that when temperatures dropped from 75°F to 20°F, average range declined by 41%. That‘s a significant loss that the Large Pack‘s added mileage can help offset.
At an $6,000 premium, the Large Pack isn‘t cheap – though you‘re getting about a 25% range boost for an 8% higher starting price. Some buyers will find that extra utility worthwhile. But for many, the Standard Pack provides sufficient range at a more appealing price point.
According to Cox Automotive, the average new car payment reached $636/month in Q3 2022. That‘s up nearly 15% from 2021. Many buyers will be stretching their budget just to afford the R1T‘s $67,500+ starting MSRP. For them, saving money up front with the Standard Pack makes more financial sense.
An advantage of choosing the Standard Pack is lower environmental impact. The Large Pack requires 30 extra kWh of battery capacity. Producing each kWh of lithium-ion battery results in estimated carbon emissions of 150-200 lbs, per research by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
So opting for the Standard Pack may lower the R1T‘s manufacturing carbon footprint by 4,500-6,000 lbs compared to the Large Pack. It also requires slightly less energy consumption over the truck‘s life. For eco-focused buyers, the Standard Pack offers a greener option.
Real-World Range Testing
How do these EPA estimates hold up in actual driving? Based on early owner testing, expect some range loss in real-world conditions.
One forum member averaged about 270 miles driving their Large Pack R1T gently at 65 mph. That‘s noticeably lower than Rivian‘s 320+ mile claim. However, Rivian‘s figure assumes easier 55 mph highway driving. So harder use seems to impact range.
Other owners report around 200 miles of mixed city/highway range from the Standard Pack. While short of 260+ miles, that should still satisfy most daily commuting needs. Just expect some decline from EPA numbers in the real world.
Charging Speeds and Battery Care
Both R1T battery variants can DC fast charge at rates up to 200kW. That allows the Large Pack to add about 140 miles of range in just 20 minutes of charging. The Standard Pack can add around 90 miles in 20 minutes.
Slower Level 2 AC charging maxes out at 11 kW. That provides a full charge overnight in around 10 hours for the Standard Pack and 13 hours for the Large Pack. Actual charge times vary based on battery temperature, age, and other factors.
Repeated fast charging can degrade EV batteries quicker over time. For optimal long-term battery health, aim to charge to 80% for daily use and minimize DC fast charging sessions. Rivian provides an 8-year/175,000 mile battery warranty for added peace of mind.
Rivian‘s Ambitious Manufacturing Plans
While Rivian‘s R1T has won many fans, production delays have slowed deliveries to anxious reservation holders. Rivian aims to ramp up manufacturing significantly in coming years through measures like:
- Expanding its Illinois plant to eventually produce 200,000+ vehicles annually
- Planning a new $5 billion plant in Georgia targeting 400,000 annual volume
- Building an extensive charging network with over 10,000 fast chargers by end of 2023
- Forging partnerships with legacy automakers like Ford to streamline production
If successful, these ambitions could turn Rivian into a major player in EV truck production. However, the startup faces stiff competition from veterans like Ford and newcomers like Tesla entering the pickup market. Executing smoothly on its aggressive growth goals will be vital.
What Does the Future Hold for Rivian‘s Batteries?
As a young, tech-focused EV company, Rivian is sure to keep innovating on battery tech in coming years. We‘ll likely see enhancements like:
- Solid-state batteries with higher energy density, replacing lithium-ion
- Faster charging capabilities to minimize downtime on road trips
- Increased range towards 400+ miles for longer driving between charges
- Improved cold weather performance to maintain range in winter
- Lower costs as production scales and technology progresses
One day, a 500+ mile Rivian truck that can fast charge to 80% in 15 minutes may be possible with advanced solid-state batteries. Expect great things from Rivian on the battery front as technology keeps evolving.
Choosing the Right R1T Battery for You
When weighing the Standard versus Large battery packs, start by realistically assessing your needs. For buyers sticking closer to home, the Standard Pack will serve them well and save $6,000. Drivers frequently needing maximum range benefit more from the Large Pack.
Here are a few other tips for choosing:
- Where you live – Large Pack helps more in cold climates
- Towing/hauling needs – Large Pack provides range buffer
- Road trips – Large Pack means fewer charging stops
- Off-roading – added range useful in remote areas
- Budget – Standard Pack costs significantly less
For many buyers, the Standard Pack should meet daily driving needs. But the Large Pack offers extra flexibility for adventures. Take a close look at your driving habits and budget to pick the R1T battery that‘s right for you!
Hope this detailed look at the Rivian R1T‘s battery options helps you decide between the Standard and Large packs. Feel free to reach out with any other questions!