The Newly Announced Rivian R2 Looks To Fill The Electric Crossover SUV Gap |

The Newly Announced Rivian R2 Looks To Fill The Electric Crossover SUV Gap

The small-to-midsize, affordable SUV remains the mythical unicorn of the electric vehicle market — but EV manufacturer Rivian is claiming to have finally figured it out.

There are plenty of electric car options around that $45,000 sweet spot, and yes, some are dubbed crossover “SUVs” in that more rugged, car-like hatchback style. But as for something that exudes the boxy, higher-sitting form factor of a classic SUV (think something more in line with a Jeep or Ford Bronco aesthetic) there simply haven’t been a lot of quality options in the EV space.

After first putting out its electric truck model, the R1T, in 2021 to general acclaim (it was Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year in 2021), Rivian followed up with its first shot at a full-size SUV in the same design language of something like a Land Rover with the Rivian R1S in 2022. The R1S is a gorgeous, full-featured EV, and it’s priced like one, with the average starting cost around $80,000.

Therein lies the problems. There are already EV car models that come in around the “average” new car price of $45,000, but if you’re looking for something more akin to a traditional SUV, options have been fairly limited at that price point. Rivian hopes to change that with its newly announced Rivian R2. The R2 is basically a smaller version of the R1S, including many of the high-end features and look of its much more expensive big brother, just a lot cheaper. The goal is for the R2 to give SUV drivers shopping for something in the mid-size range one of the first viable options to compete with a traditional fuel-powered SUV at a similar price point.

The R2 comes with an estimated range of over 300 miles, and enough power to go from 0-60 miles per hour in three seconds. There will be single, dual and tri-motor options across the various configurations. Under the hood, so to speak, the R2 will be powered by 4695 cylindrical battery cells, which are taller than Tesla’s cells. The R2 will also have 11 cameras and five radars built-in for autonomous capabilities.

The R2 will be compatible with Tesla’s Supercharger network and fast charging standards, giving it an instant national network for charging. That feature set puts it in the same range as top end EVs, with a look unlike pretty much any other EV, all for $45,000. As for size, the R2 is 185.6 inches long, with a wheelbase of 115.6 inches, 66.9 inches in height, 75 inches wide and with a ground clearance of 9.8 inches. Which, to put into perspective, places it a bit bigger than a Toyota RAV4, and a bit smaller than a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

As far as features, the interior design features upcycled birch wood trim for a unique look and haptic feedback controls on the steering wheel. The rear seats fold flat for expanded storage in the back and the back glass rolls down (a very clever feature for when you have the windows down). There are double glove boxes for storage, a front trunk, aka a “frunk,” for additional storage options, and the R2 also features Rivian’s signature Rivian Torch built-in, removable flashlight designed right into the interior.

The R2 has a lot of promise, but it’s not actually set for release until 2026, so there’s still a lengthy wait until it actually rolls off the assembly line.

Rivian also used the R2’s reveal to announce the company has two more models on its roadmap scheduled for shortly after the R2 launches: the R3 and the souped-up RX3 configuration.

The R3 is modeled in the look of an even smaller crossover, and the company promises a price tag that will be below the R2’s $45,000 MSRP but hasn’t announced the exact price. Rivian described the R3 as basically a “shrunken” version of the R2, and it certainly fits that bill. The R3 has a bit more of a sloped hatchback look, as opposed to the boxier R2. On the tech side, the R3 and R3X will both boast comparable features and battery size when compared to the R2. Conceptually, the R3 feels like an entry into the smaller EV market (i.e. competing with the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ionia), where the R2 is targeting the medium-to-large niche.

No release date has been confirmed for the R3 or R3X, though Rivian teases they will launch “soon” after the R2.

Between the R2, R3 and RX3, Rivian has one of the most ambitious and unique EV slates you’ll find in the next few years. They make for a big, ambitious swing into the affordable mass market, which is something the company will need to hit big on as it continues to lose money. It was announced earlier this year that Rivian would delay construction on a projected $5 billion manufacturing plant in Georgia, effectively viewed as a cost-saving move while the company works toward profitability. Instead, Rivian will manufacture these new EV models at existing plants, including one in Illinois.

For now, Rivian notes the Georgia plant remains a key piece in the company’s goals to scale up production — but like anything — all of that will depend on success and how these new EVs are received by the public in the next few years.

But if Rivian can follow through on its plans? They have a chance to corner the electric SUV market just as it’s ramping up.

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