Rivian's R2 will have a heat pump to help with efficiency in the winter

Rivian's newly revealed R2 will make use of a heat pump to help with cold-weather efficiency, which should come as a boon to those in the northern parts of North America and Europe.

We learned a lot about the R2 when it was revealed last week, and we learned even more secrets about the car while hanging out after the event. But it turns out that the car still has some secrets to tell.

Today, a Twitter user asked Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe if the R2 would have a heat pump, to which RJ replied with a simple “yes.”

Not only that, but he said the question “Is R2 platform Do you have a heat pump?”, suggesting that perhaps this feature will be carried over to the R3 as well, which will be built on the same platform as the R2.

Rivian's current vehicles, the R1T and R1S, do not have a heat pump, instead relying on resistance heating to warm the cabin, like many electric cars.

Resistive heating runs an electrical charge through a high-resistance coil of wire to generate waste heat. While this works well for quickly warming the cabin (without having to wait for the engine to warm up to generate heat, as in gas cars), it is also relatively energy intensive.

But a heat pump works by transferring heat from one place to another. It takes the latent heat of the outside air and brings it into the cabin, which can be up to 3-4 times more efficient than generating that heat through resistance heating.

The net effect of this is that in cold weather, you have to use less battery charge to operate the heater, thus getting higher winter range in a car with a heat pump than in a car with resistive heating.

Heat pumps have been a popular feature for more European-focused cars, because Europe tends to have cooler weather than parts of the US where EVs are most popular (such as California). This is especially important given that the R2 marks Rivian's entry into the European market, and the car has already been redesigned in some EU-focused ways (for example, moving the charging port to the passenger side, which is better for street charging).

Heat pumps are also of great benefit in cold parts of the United States and Canada.

Rivian vehicles have been very popular among the “adventure” crowd, reflecting Rivian’s slogan: “Keep the world adventurous forever.” They have seen a lot of use in snow and ice conditions, such as This video is of a Rivian pulling a semi truck out of a ditch in a Utah winter.

Given the R1's very large battery, using a little extra power on a resistive heater wasn't that bad. But this change makes us wonder if it might be possible to integrate a heat pump into the R1 in the future as well.

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