2026 Rivian R2S SUV: Everything we know [Update]

  • Will be a pure-electric mid-size SUV competing with the Model Y & Blazer EV
  • Likely to be the company's first truly global model suitable for all major markets
  • Could be priced in the USD 40,000-60,000 range to be eligible for federal tax credits
  • To be unveiled in early 2024 and be launched in the U.S. in 2026

Update: ‘Design & Features’ sub-section, and ‘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. Since then, Scaringe has confirmed that an R2 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, for the R2 project.

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

Design & Features

In a recent Q&A session on Instagram, RJ Scaringe and Rivian Head of Design Jeff Hammoud provided a glimpse of the purported Rivian R2S. The full-size clay model, hidden under a black cover, shows a lower and shorter profile compared to the R1S, which aligns with its positioning as a lower-segment model.

The Rivian R2S would be a traditionally shaped, boxy SUV, just like the Rivian R1S. Expect it to feature large, squarish windows and quarter glass panels, a high and straight shoulder line, chunky, trapezoidal wheel arches, a flattish hood, nearly straight C- and D-pillars, and a large, rectangular back glass. It could be an electric alternative to the Land Rover Defender 90, although the British model is likely to become available as an EV by 2026.

Rivian R2S SUV side profile teaser
The Rivian R2S will likely compete with the pure electric variant of the Land Rover Defender 90. Image Source: Instagram/rivianofficial

There will likely be cost-cutting to make the R2 models affordable. There’s an internal debate about whether the removable flashlight in the driver’s side door is core to the brand or certain off-roading capabilities. Given the cost constraints, it’s understandable that not everything from the R1 models can be offered in the R2S.

During the company’s Q3 2023 earnings call on August 8, 2023, Scaringe hinted that customization was at the core of the R2 series. He said “really fun personalization items” are planned as part of the accessories package of the future vehicle.

Specifications

Rivian will likely offer the R2S in multiple AWD variants, some with one front motor and one rear motor, and others with one front motor and two rear motors. The company may use its indigenously developed Enduro drive unit in the dual-motor AWD variants.

Customers may get to pick from two battery options in the R2S. A Standard Pack unit with ~100 kWh of energy storage capacity could be the base option. A 135-kWh Large Pack unit should appeal to both types of premium customers, those seeking a higher range and also those desiring more performance. This unit could be optional in the dual-motor AWD variant and standard in the tri-motor AWD variant.

Global sales potential

Speaking to reuters.com in November 2020, Scaringe said the smaller models will be 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 have delayed those launches. 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.”

Volkswagen Group EV market sales
Companies like VW see Europe and China as the biggest EV markets worldwide this decade. Image source: Volkswagen

Production & Release Date

During Rivian’s Q1 2022 earnings conference call, Scaringe said Rivian R2 production would take place in Georgia. On June 15, 2023, in a fireside chat at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference, Rivian CFO Claire McDonough said the first R2 model will make its world debut in early 2024, and launch in 2026. Scaringe reaffirmed these timelines during the annual shareholder meeting on June 21, 2023.

Neither Scaringe nor McDonough disclosed the EV’s name, production readiness, or any other specifics, but it is safe to assume that they were talking about presenting a near-production concept of the highly anticipated Rivian R2S. The CFO 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.

In his remarks during the Q2 2023 earnings call on August 8, 2023, Scaringe expressed his excitement about unveiling the R2 product early next year, and as to how the vehicle would rethink its segment and space.

Price

In the aforementioned fireside chat at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference, McDonough indicated that prices of the Rivian R2S will fall in the USD 40,000-60,000 range.

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 start at USD 73,000 and USD 78,000, respectively, and we expect the R2 series to be priced starting 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.

TopElectricSUV says

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 Model Y are serving 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 will be unveiled in early 2024 and be launched in 2026.

What will be the Rivian R2S price?

The Rivian R2S could be priced between USD 40,000 and USD 60,000.

Which models will the Rivian R2 SUV compete with?

Featured Image Source: Instagram/rivianofficial