Tue. May 21st, 2024

Rivian just revealed the R2, its next-generation electric SUV. The R2 is slightly smaller and less luxurious than its predecessor, though it boasts a relatively affordable launch price—approximately $45,000. Reservations are open today, with orders shipping in 2026.

The Rivian R2 retains most of the R1S’ design cues, including pill-shaped headlights, a clean interior, and a flashlight in the door. But the new SUV is about three inches shorter, stouter, and narrower than its predecessor. And although the R2’s exterior still looks quite luxurious, Rivian is taking a far more modest approach to the vehicle’s interior, particularly the upholstery. The only upgrade to the interior, as far as we know, is an extra glovebox.

As for actual specs, Rivian promises over 300 miles of range in all versions of the R2—single-motor RWD, dual-motor AWD, and tri-motor AWD. A previous leak stated up to “330 miles” of range, and we don’t have an EPA estimate here, so we’ll see how things shake out. In any case, 300 miles of range is solid for a vehicle of this price, even if it falls short of the R1S’ maximum 400-mile range.

Rivian also states that the R2 will leap from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds, though this may be limited to the tri-motor trim. And although the R2 uses a brand-new vehicle platform with a 4695 battery cell format, we don’t really know any details about the new platform.

But the R2’s big selling point is its price. The SUV is expected to start at just $45,000, placing it in direct competition with Tesla’s Model Y. Rivian hasn’t announced if the $45,000 is before or after government rebates, meaning that the R2 could sell for under $30,000 if it qualifies for a tax discount. You’d be hard-pressed to find a new ICE vehicle for under $40k, let alone an EV.

It’s been a gloomy year for electric vehicles. Manufacturers are selling fewer EVs, customers are questioning the viability of electrification, and EV-focused brands (specifically Tesla and Rivian) have tumbled in the stock market. In spite of this dour mood, the Rivian R2 reveal seems to be a success. Everything is sunny—journalists are happy, enthusiasts are throwing down $100 to reserve the R2, and Rivian finally has an opportunity to break out of the luxury market.

Now, Rivian is faced with the challenge of capitalizing on this enthusiasm. The company’s CEO, RJ Scaringe, says that the R2 will be “the product that makes or breaks the company.” Rivian reported $1.58 billion in losses through the last quarter of 2023, so it’s fair to say that Scaringe is correct. It seems that the automaker is also hunting for new ways to cut costs, as it promises a more streamlined production process and has paused construction on its Georgia plant.

There’s just one more thing—Rivian also announced the R3, a small and sporty “entry-level” electric SUV. If you’re a fan of Rivian, today is a very fun day.

Source: Rivian

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By John P.

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