NORMAL, Ill.—It was a blazing hot August day in central Illinois, but you wouldn’t know it once inside Rivian’s 4 million-square-foot manufacturing facility. The electric vehicle manufacturer was hosting media members not only to demonstrate how far Rivian has come since buying a former Mitsubishi plant in 2017 but also to launch its new, range-increasing Enduro drive unit that’s now available across its entire EV lineup.
As a startup in a crowded and established industry, Rivian has pursued a strategy of vertical integration to keep its costs down. It can be done all in-house, and that’s what Rivian has done with its new motor.
The new dual-motor system is part of Rivian’s new Enduro drive unit. Enduro is a fully integrated platform, and all its components—gearbox, inverter, and motor—were designed in-house. Rivian has been using Enduro in its single-motor commercial electric vans (the factory floor was dense with electric Amazon delivery vans in various states of assembly, with many more outside awaiting delivery), and it is now building R1T pickup trucks and R1S SUVs with the Enduro platform.
The R1T and R1S were available at launch with quad-motor variants. The quad-motor system, which I got to drive on Rivian’s track and off-road course, is hard to beat for off-roading. With one motor for each wheel, the R1S and R1T have efficient four-wheel torque vectoring, enabling all sorts of off-road adventures. The downside to the quad-motor setup is a reduction in range versus the dual-motor setup.
Dual-motor vehicles have one motor for each axle. With Enduro, the R1T can now tow up to 11,000 pounds (5,000 kg) and the R1S 7,700 pounds (~3,500 kg). Off the road, Enduro can provide the desired power/torque curve by vectoring power from front to rear. On the off-road course, the dual-motor equipped R1T I drove was nearly the equal of the quad-motor model.
Off-roading performance is great, but the reality is the vast majority of pickup truck and SUV owners never take their vehicles off-road. But you don’t need to traverse a boulder field to reap the benefits of Enduro. Efficiencies from the new, in-house design mean that both the R1T and R1S now max out at 410 miles (660 km) of range with 21-inch tires. That’s a solid boost from the original dual-motor setup.
Rivian also offers a software-enabled Performance Dual-Motor option. With this package, the R1T and R1S can reach zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. There’s 665 hp (496 kW) and 829 lb-ft (1,124 Nm) of torque on offer, as well. The quad-motor setup boosts horsepower to 836 hp (623 kW) while adding another 80 lb-ft (108 Nm) of torque, with a maximum range of 328 miles (527 km).
Originally targeting 2024 for delivery of the Enduro system in the R1T and R1S, Rivian began Enduro production in May 2023. The EV maker has been building Amazon delivery vans with Enduro since the beginning of the year.
This story was updated after publication, changing the maximum range from 390 to 410 miles, as Rivian sent conflicting information in their press kits.