Update: ‘Rivian working on a new ‘R2′ platform’ and ‘On the Rivian R2S SUV’ sections updated and ‘Production & Release Date’ section added.
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. 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 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.
Moreover, Rivian had filed trademarks for names like R2T, R2X, R2A, R2C, R2S, and R2R. Given that the R1S is an SUV, it’s likely that R2S would be a compact or mid-size electric SUV. The R2T could be a more affordable electric truck alternative to the R1T.
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 company could introduce the Rivian R2S as a competitor of VW ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq to penetrate the European market. 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.” Prices of these models start at $67,500 and $72,500, respectively, so it would need smaller products at accessible price points, such as the Rivian R2S, to expand globally.
Production & Release Date
During Rivian’s Q1 2022 earnings conference call, Scaringe said Rivian R2 production would take place in Georgia. If everything goes as planned, production will start at Rivian’s new plant in 2025. The U.S. launch may take place the same calendar year.
Rivian CFO Claire McDonough said during the same 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.
Rivian eyes production of one 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.
90,000+ pre-orders for the Rivian utility vehicles
During Rivian’s Q1 2022 earnings conference call, Scaringe revealed that the company has received over 90,000 pre-orders for the R1S and R1T in the U.S. and Canada. Over 10,000 came with an average price of over USD 93,000 after the price hike on March 1, 2022. The company produced 2,553 vehicles and sold 1,227 units in Q1 2022. That’s only a fraction of what the factory can deliver, with the annual production capacity being 150,000 units.
With an overwhelming number of 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.
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.