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Rivian adds Snow Mode through software update just in time for winter

Making up for slow truck shipments, the Rivian software team has been busy working on improvements and new features to keep existing customers happy. Although it’s a small group, happy customers make for great brand ambassadors.

The biggest and most advertised feature of the new update is “Snow Mode,”  – rolled out today for the R1T truck and the R1S SUV – which helps maximize control with an emphasis on comfort when you’re in icy, slushy, or snowy conditions. I’ve found Rivian vehicles to have an overly aggressive regenerative braking system (the only options are Normal and High), and the new Snow Mode helps reduce the sensitivity of the braking system to allow for better control on slippery surfaces. Imagine having to deal with a sliding car every time the brakes come on due to regen mode – not fun for any driver.

Rivian Snow Mode information screen.

You also have to wonder why there wasn’t a “Snow Mode” to begin with, considering these are otherwise incredibly capable off-road trucks, but thankfully Rivian has been listening to its customers and acting quickly to appeal to the masses.

Other important updates include the ability to heat the front and second-row seats, heat the steering wheel, and turn on the defrost system all through the mobile app (software update version 1.9). Another important update is the ability to share an address from Google Maps or Apple Maps directly to the truck’s navigation system – a nice touch.

And for those with range anxiety, this software update purportedly helps with battery efficiency – though the exact numbers have not been released.

You might be wondering why these updates are coming after the vehicles have already been delivered. After all, a lot of vehicles come with these features from day one. While no official Rivian spokesperson has commented, unofficially the response has been that they want to make sure the experience is perfect for their customers and that means extensive testing and cautious rollouts over time.

I happen to think that they are rushing to get vehicles out the door to make investors and early pre-order customers happy. Worth noting is the fact that some Rivian vehicles have wood trim on the back of the first-row headrests, and others do not. Chalk it up to cost-cutting or assembly line improvements?

Here is a shortened list of other new features and bugs that the latest Rivian software update addresses:

  • Use the Tidal music app if you have an account
  • Updates to Spotify including the ability to listen to Audiobooks
  • Control the volume levels of the navigation speech, Amazon’s Alexa, media and phone calls – all independently (this has been a big issue if you are listening to music and not able to hear the Rivian navigation system talking to you)
  • Improved ride quality in the various drive modes
  • Set your current location as “home” or “work” without it having to be a specific address

I was able to update my Rivian R1S last night and will continue to test the new features and updates to see how they work and if they improve the issues I have experienced with my truck. Some bugs still remain: I did notice that I was unable to log out of one Spotify account to be able to switch over to another account, but that’s small compared to being able to confidently drive on snow.

You can view the full list of bug fixes and features at the Unofficial Rivian Software Tracker site.

Update: We resolved the Spotify bug we encountered by resetting the displays and infotainment center. To do this, hold the far left and far right buttons on the steering wheel for about 10 to 15 seconds.

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Ian Bell
I work with the best people in the world and get paid to play with gadgets. What's not to like?
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