Rivian Reveals R2 and R3 Models That Will Compete With Tesla’s Model Y and Next Gen Vehicle

By Kevin Armstrong
Rivian announced their R2, R3 and R3X vehicles
Rivian announced their R2, R3 and R3X vehicles

Rivian has taken strides in unveiling its latest models, the R2, R3, and R3X. These vehicles certainly raise the bar for the company. However, when placed in the broader context of the electric vehicle sector, these advancements, while commendable, serve to highlight the relentless pace set by industry leader Tesla.

Rivian's Surprise Launch

This is not to rain on Rivian's parade. Rarely does an EV manufacturer not named Tesla rule the coverage of any given day. Rivian did show off some development during the launch of the R2 and the surprise announcement of the R3 and R3X.

The R2, positioned as a smaller, more affordable alternative to its predecessor, brings Rivian's distinctive design into a compact, efficient package. With a starting price of $45,000, over 300 miles of range, and the ability to accelerate from 0-60 MPH in under three seconds, the R2 is poised to garner some attention. The subsequent reveal of the R3 and R3X models shows that there are big plans for the future for a company that plans to build 57,000 cars in 2024.

Innovation on Display

Rivian showed off some new technology using the 4695 cylindrical battery cell and structural battery packs for increased range. The DC fast charging system works with NACS and CCS. There has also been a significant increase in autonomous driving capabilities, a new computing system, five radars, and 11 cameras. The company is delaying facility expansion, instead launching the R2 from its Illinois facility to save capital and expedite production.

That’s the good news, but the R2, with its new look, upgraded tech, and lower price, will not be available until 2026. The other two units will be available in 2027. This timing is crucial. While Rivian's new models are indeed groundbreaking, Tesla's "Redwood" project is set to introduce a vehicle at a $25,000 price point, making it highly accessible to the mass market.

Tesla's Countermove: Redwood, Van

The implications of Tesla's manufacturing efficiency and cost reduction advancements cannot be overstated. As Tesla gears up to launch its next-gen vehicle, it is likely already envisioning subsequent innovations that could further extend its lead in the EV sector. Those ideas, which are likely scribbled on Franz von Holzhausen’s notepad at this point, could very well be in development by 2027. Perhaps a highly configurable van, the obvious next step, could be created simultaneously with the other two Rivians coming out. Given the advancement learned year-over-year, a new Tesla product will likely beat Rivian’s prices.

With a production timeline that anticipates the start of manufacturing in the latter half of 2025, Tesla's next-gen vehicle is poised to hit the market around the same time Rivian's R2 begins delivery. Rivian's efforts, though significant, are part of a broader narrative dominated by Tesla's vision and execution. As the electric vehicle landscape continues to evolve, the ability to innovate at scale and meet product demand and consumer desire for affordability, range, and performance will determine the true leaders of the electric revolution. Rivian has a lot of work to do.

Tesla Is Removing Steam Gaming in New Model S and Model X Vehicles

By Karan Singh

Tesla is no longer including Steam support in any of its newer Model S and Model X vehicles, according to messages received by customers who are awaiting deliveries of the flagship vehicles.

Tesla previously introduced the Steam beta to newer versions of the Model S and Model X refreshes which had 16GB of RAM as part of the 2022 Holiday Update. This update didn’t support slightly older vehicles with only 8GB of RAM, but a retrofit was available for $2,000 USD.

Tesla No Longer Supporting Dedicated GPUs?

The Cybertruck also did not receive a dedicated graphic processing unit (GPU), with many people noting that they did not have access to Steam on their Foundation-series Cybertrucks and GreenTheOnly later confirmed the Cybertruck did not include a GPU. The Cybertruck also shipped with only 8GB of RAM, matching the Model 3 and Model Y MCU 3 versions based on AMD Ryzen chips.

This could be an indication that Tesla is phasing out the GPUs, as well as the larger RAM packages that came bundled with their top-end vehicles, likely due to cost-cutting, hardware streamlining, and optimization.

Tesla is removing Steam support on newer vehicles
Tesla is removing Steam support on newer vehicles
Randall

Future of Steam Support

While the AMD Ryzen RDNA-2 APUs that are built into every Tesla MCU are quite powerful and very capable of rendering 3D or 2D graphics when in mobile configurations, there has been a distinct lack of Steam support on other vehicles, due to the 8GB of RAM.

Given the removal of GPUs from the flagship vehicles, there is also a chance that the RAM on newer Model S and X vehicles will also be facing a reduction similar to the Cybertruck. The Steam Beta could very well be on its way out.

The other possible alternative would be an updated Steam Beta that supports 8GB of RAM, and does not require a powerful GPU, as people may not do too much hardcore gaming on their vehicles.

Gaming Alternatives

Some gaming applications still live on in Tesla’s Arcade Mode, including the ever-popular Cuphead, Sky Force Reload, and Vampire Survivors. We previously discussed Tesla’s lack of Google Casting and Apple Airplay, but a fantastic alternative would be providing HDMI pass-through support on the Glovebox USB-C port.

Imagine being able to connect your phone to Tesla’s displays and gaming on a much larger 19” screen (screen size comparison) as seen on the Cybertruck.

The Future of Tesla Compute

Elon Musk mentioned in the 2024 Tesla Earnings Call that the unused compute power of Tesla vehicles not being driven was equivalent to a larger computing system like Amazon’s AWS. One idea floated by Musk was to use the computers of parked vehicles to conduct inference, data processing, and other tasks – selling the compute capabilities of vehicles to external organizations, while also paying back the owner.

Tesla Releases FSD v12.4: New Vision Attention Monitoring, Improved Strike System With Update 2024.9.5

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla has just rolled out its latest FSD software, v12.4 to employees. Elon Musk announced that this update would be available to employees this past weekend, with plans to release it to the public in small numbers later this week.

Surprisingly, the new update is version 2024.9.5, which is likely based on the earlier 2024.8 branch and not Tesla's latest 2024.14. The spring update (2024.14) brings various new features such as a new media player, a new parked visualization, Audible support, and a Preview of Sentry Mode events, among others.

However, FSD v12.4 brings its own excitement with two new major changes.

Vision-Based Attention Monitoring

The release notes show a new Vision-Based Attention Monitoring feature that replaces the steering wheel nag as Musk previously mentioned.

However, as we predicted, Tesla will still leverage the steering wheel to detect attentiveness when the cabin camera is inconclusive.

The car can only rely on the vehicle's cabin camera, and therefore remove the steering wheel nag under certain conditions:

  • the camera is not occluded

  • there is sufficient lighting

  • the driver is looking forward

  • the driver is not wearing sunglasses

  • the driver is not wearing a low-brim hat or another object that covers their eyes

If any of these situations occur, or if the vehicle doesn't have a cabin camera, then the vehicle will continue to use the steering wheel to determine driver attention.

Tesla is careful to state that images and video from the cabin camera are not saved or transmitted unless you enable data sharing.

Updated Strike System

With FSD v12.4, Tesla has also updated its Autopilot Suspension feature which is designed to enforce the responsible use of FSD.

The current system lets the driver receive up to five strikes (three strikes for vehicles without a cabin camera) before Autopilot and FSD become unavailable. If that happens, then FSD is unavailable for one week. Strikes are only removed once the driver has accrued five strikes, or when Tesla wipes out strikes for everyone, which happens about twice a year.

The new system is more gracious about removing strikes. The vehicle will continue to issue strikes whenever the driver isn't paying attention, however, now the vehicle will gradually remove strikes for the driver after a certain period of time.

Tesla states that one strike will be removed for each 7-day period the driver goes without receiving a strike. So if FSD gets disabled due to strikes, the driver will still go one week without FSD, although now strikes are removed on an ongoing basis. This new strike system is expected to apply to vehicles with and without a cabin camera.

Other New Features

Other new features are expected in FSD 12.4 as well, which we outlined in our look at Tesla's FSD v12.4 article.

They include a focus on improved driver comfort by reducing the amount of hard braking, automatically seeking a parking spot when arriving at a destination and more. Driver interventions are also expected to be drastically reduced with Musk stating that Tesla expects to see a 5-10x improvement in interventions.

Eligibility

Unfortunately, due to FSD v12.4 being on branch 2024.9, it's expected to only be available to owners on update 2024.8 and below, which includes everyone currently on update 2024.3.25.

If no major issues are found with FSD v12.4, we could see it start to roll out to the public later this week.

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