Update: ‘Production & Release Date’ section updated.
At 202 inches (5,131 mm) long, 79 inches (2,007 mm) wide, and 72 inches (1,829 mm) tall, the Rivian R1S is way above what is considered a normal SUV in Europe and most other countries. However, it is reported that smaller electric vehicles like Rivian R2S and Rivian R3S are in the making to enter new markets and market segments.
Citing Robert Joseph Scaringe, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Rivian, a MotorTrend report suggested that the American startup will launch a range of new passenger EVs after the Rivian R1T and Rivian R1S. It claims that the upcoming models would follow the current nomenclature, meaning that two of them could be Rivian R2S and Rivian R3S SUVs. MotorTrend adds that the upcoming series of models would ride dedicated platforms. Scaringe has confirmed that an R2 product or product line is in the making.
Rivian working on a new ‘R2’ platform
Automotive News reported on April 18, 2022, that the brand is working on a new platform christened ‘R2’ for its next wave of electric vehicles, many of which are expected to cater to affordable segments. The publication spoke to Scaringe, who revealed that new electric motors and a bespoke 800-volt battery were under development in-house.
During Rivian’s Q1 2022 earnings conference call on May 11, 2022, Scaringe confirmed an R2 platform is in the works. He said the company is using the learnings from its R1 and RCV platforms in the development. It wants to ensure that the R2 platform is high on affordability, performance, efficiency, and unit economics. It will borrow many technologies from the R1 and RCV platforms (EDV 700 and EDV 500), including the upcoming single-motor drive unit called Enduro, the upcoming LFP battery pack, and the next-gen network architecture and associated family of ECUs.
On the Rivian R2S SUV
Rivian confirmed in its Q1 2022 shareholder letter that the R2 platform will spawn a Rivian R2 SUV. It will be a mid-size model, the investor document stated.
We plan for the new plant to be the production site for our future R2 platform—a more accessibly priced mid-sized SUV targeting global markets.Rivian Q1 2022 shareholder letter
Speaking to reuters.com in November 2020, Scaringe said that Rivian is working on smaller models that are fit for new markets. The Rivian R1S SUV and the Rivian R1T are simply too big for most countries outside North America. The company planned to launch the Rivian R1S in Europe and China anyway, in 2022, although limited production may push those launches out to 2023. Plus, it expects “follow-on products” to “really drive volume” there:
We wouldn’t be serious about building a car company if we weren’t thinking about China and Europe as important markets long term.Robert Joseph Scaringe, Founder and CEO, Rivian
Smaller SUVs relevant to North America, Europe, and other regions can help Rivian become a serious contender in the industry. The Rivian mid-size SUV could work well in making the brand more accessible in the U.S.
This decade, China, Europe, and the U.S. are expected to be the biggest volume drivers for electric vehicles. Volkswagen Group, for instance, expects China to be its biggest EV market until 2030, followed by European countries, and then the U.S. at the third position. Scaringe sees the Rivian R1T electric pickup truck and the Rivian R1S electric SUV as the brand’s “halo products.”
Production & Release Date
During Rivian’s Q1 2022 earnings conference call, Scaringe said Rivian R2 production would take place in Georgia from 2025. During the company’s Q3 2022 earnings conference call on November 7, 2022, he revealed that the company has postponed the start of production date of the first R2 model to 2026. So, the Rivian R2S would arrive in 2026 at the earliest.
Rivian CFO Claire McDonough said during the Q1 2022 earnings conference call that the upcoming factory in Georgia would have an R2 assembly line with an annual production capacity of 200,000 units. She indicated that eventually, that figure would double to 400,000 units.
On August 11, 2022, during Rivian’s Q2 2022 earnings conference call, Scaringe said that the company had over USD 15 billion cash on hand at the end of Q2 2022 and is confident about launching the R2 platform as planned. The company wants to ensure it has a domestic supply network for the R2 project so that its production plans are not prone to geopolitical risks.
Really designing a supply chain that is addressing some of the geopolitical risks above and beyond what’s now sort of being driven by the Inflation Reduction Act. But that’s been something that’s been work underway for quite some time. And as we have contemplated and planned for the long-term supply chain for R2, we have always looked at it through the lens of making sure we had domestic supply chain to support the ramp-up of that product.Robert Joseph Scaringe, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Rivian (Q2 2022 earnings conference call on August 11, 2022)
During Rivian’s Q2 2022 earnings conference call, Scaringe said that the R2 models will have lower pricing compared to the R1 models so that many of its configurations don’t pass the threshold of the Clean Vehicle Credit. To be eligible for the Clean Vehicle Credit, the MSRP of a van, pickup, or SUV should not be above USD 80,000. The R1T and R1S’ prices start at USD 73,000 and USD 78,000, respectively, and we expect the R2 series’ prices to start at around USD 55,000.
While many of our R1 configurations won’t meet the bill’s pricing requirements, our R2 product line and associated cell road map are being developed to allow our customers to capture the value of these incentives.Robert Joseph Scaringe, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Rivian (Q2 2022 earnings conference call on August 11, 2022)
Other Rivian R2 models
Rivian has filed trademarks for names like R2S, R2T, R2X, R2A, R2C, and R2R names. The company has already revealed details about the R2S. The R2T could be a more affordable electric truck alternative to the R1T. In a report published on September 25, 2022, citing AutoForecast Solutions, Automotive News said that the R2R might be a rally-styled, off-road-focused hatchback. Rivian hasn’t confirmed the existence of an R2R in the pipeline yet.
In the same report, Automotive News said the Rivian R2X could be a model competition with two-door versions of the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler. However, this is pure speculation, and Rivian hasn’t even indicated that it plans to launch a two-door model. Similarly, Ford and Jeep haven’t announced two-door off-road SUVs with an electric powertrain.
Rivian eyes production of 1 million EVs
Rivian’s blockbuster IPO debut on Nasdaq has brought the company under the spotlight, although supply shortages have made operations challenging for the new entrant. The startup desires to be a global player in a few years. Citing Scaringe, a report from Reuters says that there will be four Rivian plants worldwide. The company is aiming for an annual production of no less than one million EVs by the end of the decade, Scaringe said. That’s an ambitious target, but it might be achievable once it has rolled out multiple EVs, built its reputation, and established a proper global production network in the second half of the decade.
However, new reservation holders may be in for longer-than-expected wait times, as supply chain problems have cost the company dearly. Scaringe told Automotive News on April 18, 2022, that only a tiny portion of its company’s working hours was being used for production. The rest of the hours are reportedly invested in developing the brand’s new R2 platform.
Nearly 100,000 pre-orders for the Rivian utility vehicles
During Rivian’s Q2 2022 earnings conference call, Scaringe revealed that the company had received about 98,000 pre-orders for the R1S and R1T in the U.S. and Canada by June 30, 2022. The company produced 6,954 vehicles and sold 5,694 units in H1 2022. That’s only a fraction of what the factory can deliver, with the annual production capacity pegged at 150,000 units.
With overwhelming reservations for the R1T and R1S combined in the U.S. and Canada, meeting production deadlines and keeping customers from canceling orders would be a challenge for Rivian. Moreover, the company has to cater to Amazon’s order book as well—the e-commerce giant has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans.
The Rivian R2S could be the company’s first model suitable for all major global auto markets rapidly transitioning to EVs, including European countries. Rivian has proved with the R1T and R1S that even though it’s a start-up, it can build great products. If it improves on the production aspect in time and gets the pricing right, its upcoming electric mid-size SUV could put it among the league of big automakers on the world map the same way the Model 3 and Y served Tesla.
Also Read: Rivian ‘R2T’ electric truck could slot beneath the R1T in 2026
Rivian R2S FAQs
What is the Rivian R2S release date?
The Rivian R2S could be launched in 2026.
What will be the Rivian R2S price?
The Rivian R2S could be priced from USD 55,000 or lower.
Which models will the Rivian R2 SUV compete with?
The Tesla Model Y, Chevy Blazer EV, Honda Prologue & Ford Mustang Mach-E are some competitors.
Featured Image: Unofficial rendering of the Rivian R2S by TopElectricSUV. This is our interpretation of a Rivian mid-sized SUV with a coupe-style roofline. The official design may differ.