Rivian Is Testing Camouflaged R1T and R1S in Alaska, Hinting at R1 Refresh Coming Soon

Rivian is testing camouflaged R1T and R1S in Alaska 7 photos
Photo: u/AntiqueGuy907 via Reddit
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Rivian appears to have joined the cool camo gang, with several R1Ts and R1S EVs spotted in Fairbanks, Alaska, wearing intriguing colors. As it is, the wrap is not meant to hide much, so speculations abound as to what Rivian might be testing in the cold. The tests could be part of the R1 model refresh, which is set to launch later this year.
Rivian is testing several R1 electric vehicles in extreme cold, as evidenced by a few camouflaged prototypes spotted in Fairbanks, Alaska. The moment coincides with the development of the revamped R1 lineup, which is expected to start deliveries later this year. Rivian announced many essential modifications to the R1 lineup for the 2024 refresh, although none would require wrapping the trucks to hide it.

Carmakers usually used wraps to deceive onlookers and keep the design changes hidden until the last moment. Sometimes, they do it quite cleverly by copying elements from existing models. Volkswagen distinguished itself in this area, with the next-generation Tiguan and Passat tested with camouflage that made them look like the outgoing models. However, the camo is sometimes just a way of attracting people's attention.

We've seen this with the Tesla Cybertruck, whose camo warps weren't meant to hide anything. The trend later caught traction and turned into a lucrative business, so we barely see any customer Cybertruck with a naked body. Rivian's efforts of wrapping the R1S and R1T seen in Alaska are more closely aligned with what Tesla did. There are, however, a few hints that the refreshed R1T and R1S will feature slight design changes.

This is obvious at the front, as the camo covers the headlights and the light bar almost completely. A design change will likely solve one of the problems of driving a Rivian while snowing. As some owners discovered, the current headlights let snow and ice accumulate, and the cold LED light cannot melt them like halogen headlights do. This forces drivers to stop every now and then to clean the headlights.

However, the real purpose of cold-weather testing in Alaska could be to fine-tune the modified drivetrain configuration. The refreshed R1 lineup is supposed to come with an improved variant of the Enduro motors. The lineup will also include an LFP battery option to make the trucks more affordable. Rivian will want to test these in extreme cold to know how they'll perform for regular customers living in northern regions. A heat pump is also a good enough reason to go up North for testing.

Previous rumors indicated that Rivian is overhauling the R1 vehicle architecture. The EV startup wants to introduce a new type of battery that is easier to manufacture and will save thousands of dollars per vehicle. This differs from the Standard battery pack planned to start deliveries this year, suggesting some type of structural battery pack. Rivian will also introduce an updated network architecture, allowing the company to reduce the number of electronic control units (ECUs) by 60% and the wiring harness length by 25%.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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