Rivian Pulls Software Update That Offered Improved Range and New Features

Rivian is well known for its timely software updates, which usually bring new features and bug fixes to the R1S/R1T vehicles. Nevertheless, the latest 2023.02.03 update didn’t go as planned because Rivian called it off. The reason is unknown, although rumor has it the update caused some owners to become locked out of their vehicles.
Rivian pulls software update that offered improved range 6 photos
Photo: @RivianSoftware via Twitter | Edited
Rivian pulls software update that offered improved range and new featuresRivian pulls software update that offered improved range and new featuresRivian pulls software update that offered improved range and new featuresRivian pulls software update that offered improved range and new featuresRivian pulls software update that offered improved range and new features
For as far as I can remember, “updates” in a car meant updating the navigation maps for a fee and pretty much nothing else. If you wanted new features, you bought a new car. This is how it went for over a century until Tesla changed everything with over-the-air updates. Even today, traditional carmakers are shy in offering updates, even when they brag about OTA update capabilities on their new models. One bad example is Volkswagen, which demands owners to go to a service center to perform an update, which seems ridiculous.

Nevertheless, EV startups have all adopted Tesla’s update policy and offer new features, bug fixes, and improvements on a regular basis. Rivian is proud to provide the same, and we’ve seen in the past that owners appreciate the system, especially as it brought improved range and meaningful features. The latest update was about to fall into the same category, but Rivian decided to pull it from the vehicles for unspecified reasons.

The 2023.02.03 update was pushed to the cars on February 7 after it was tested internally by Rivian employees for a couple of weeks. Among the things added with the update, the release notes mentioned an improved EPA-estimated range thanks to unlocking more of the battery capacity to users by increasing the depth of discharge. Based on the reports from owners who got the update, the range improved by 5 miles (8 km) to 15 miles (24 km).

Nevertheless, not many got to install the update because Rivian pulled it from the vehicles. Some users reported that they were notified on their phones to update, but when they got to the truck, it was gone. According to a Rivian customer support representative, the reason would have been that many owners were locked out of their vehicles following the update. Nevertheless, the claim was disputed on the /Rivian subreddit, and no reports from actual owners locked out have surfaced.

The update indeed modifies the key fob firmware, promising to increase reliability and battery life. At the same time, it should decrease latency and allow faster locking and unlocking. Rivian advised owners to have a backup key, NFC card, or the phone setup as a key just in case anything goes wrong with the update.

The update also adds a new Door Ajar notification, which alerts the owners on their phones when the door is not locked because it wasn’t properly shut. Additional improvements include reduced steering effort to maintain a straight line when driving on crowned roads and a fix to the estimated drive range when towing, among many other improvements.

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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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