Will it be EV maker’s Model 3 moment?



The Rivian R2 lineup is due to debut March 7, the California-based electric truck maker revealed Monday. 

Rivian has revealed very little about the R2 as of yet, other than that it will be smaller and lower-priced than the existing R1 lineup. While the R1T pickup and R1S SUV are full-size trucks—or within a few inches of full-size, by any American assessment—the R2 lineup is expected to cover a middle ground that would also make it viable for Europe and many other regions of the world, giving Rivian traction toward economies of scale. 

As such, it’s aimed for the mass-market—or much closer to the mass market. Last June, Rivian CFO Claire McDonough revealed a target price for the R2 lineup of $40,000 to $60,000. A Rivian R2S SUV at that price could potentially provide steep competition for everything from the Tesla Model Y to the Jeep Recon, while an R2T pickup might provide a fully electric equivalent to the Ford Maverick or Hyundai Santa Fe.

Rivian R1T, green, vs. Rivian R1S, silver

Rivian R1T, green, vs. Rivian R1S, silver

The current R1 lineup starts at $80,800 for the R1T or $85,800 for the R1S, both including destination, Standard pack versions arrive this year and will lower the starting price by another $6,000—enough to get both versions below the $80,000 mark before options. 

Rivian also said in its first environmental impact report, released last month, that it aims to launch EVs “with half the lifecycle carbon footprint” of its 2022 R1 models by 2030—through increased recycled-materials content, manufacturing powered by renewable energy, a decarbonized charging network, and more. 

The automaker’s upcoming factory in Georgia, which will produce the R2, will likely play a big role in both the cost and environmental targets for the new model. That plant Rivian has said will allow a capacity of 400,000 vehicles—in addition to the 150,000-vehicle capacity of its Illinois plant where the R1T, R1S, and EDV electric vans are made. In 2023, Rivian delivered 50,122, of those three models combined.

Rivian R1T pre-production

Rivian R1T pre-production

While Rivian is revealing the R2 next month, don’t expect it to be entirely in production form quite yet. That’s because it’s not due to be produced until 2026. In November 2022, the R2 was delayed a year versus Rivian’s original plan, partly due to financial reasons. 

If Rivian plays it well, the debut could set the stage for a “Model 3 moment” for the company—essentially echoing the surge of interest Tesla stoked, after limited interest in its earlier Roadster, S, and X, with the debut of the $35,000 Model 3 in spring 2016. 

Going back to the early stages, Rivian also planned a smaller, high-performance rally-styled EV that would follow. Is that the R3 that the company has acknowledged is also on the way, and is it an R3 variant or something entirely distinct. We’ll have to see whether Rivian teases on March 7 how it all fits together. 





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