Rivian R2 revealed: a $45,000 electric off-roader for the masses

Rivian revealed its next electric vehicle, the R2, a more affordable SUV that the company is counting on having a much broader appeal than its stylish — and expensive — R1T trucks and R1S SUVs.

The R2 won’t go into production until 2026, but when it does it will come with an estimated range of 330 miles, a 0–60mph time of three seconds, and a starting price of $45,000 — placing it slightly below the current average selling price for a new internal combustion vehicle. The price could be even lower if it ends up qualifying for the $7,500 federal tax credit.

Making an electric vehicle that’s affordable to a broader swath of people is crucial for Rivian’s long-term viability. The company’s R1T truck starts at $70,000, while the R1S SUV kicks off at $76,000 and can climb as high as $88,000. Rivian needs a less expensive vehicle if it’s to successfully compete with Tesla and other legacy automakers who currently dominate the sales chart.

Since coming out of stealth in 2018, the company has positioned itself as a maker of adventure vehicles that are ideal for camping and off-road antics. Sure, Rivian’s vehicles are mostly used for more mundane excursions, like trips to Home Depot and soccer practice. But Rivian knows that some of the most popular vehicles on the road today are trucks and SUVs that are dirt-road and towing aspirants.

Many of the details had leaked before today’s launch, like the specs, the location of the event, and even a blurry image of the R2 itself. But Rivian still had a lot to add during the event.

In unveiling its plans to put its next vehicle into production, Rivian faces an existential test. The company reported losing $1.58 billion over the last three months of 2023, bringing its net annual losses to $5.4 billion. It also announced plans to lay off 10 percent of its salaried employees, the third such round of layoffs in the last two years. It is planning to shut down its factory in Normal, Illinois, for several weeks to bring improvements to the R1 line. And it will soon break ground on a new $5 billion factory in Georgia.

The R2 can’t save Rivian on its own. But it will certainly play a major role in keeping the company afloat.

The Rivian R2 is 185.6 inches in length, which is less than two inches shorter than a Tesla Model Y or about 15 inches less than an R1S. Its width is 75 inches, or 84.4 inches with the mirrors, and the height is 66.9 inches. There’s a substantial frunk (front truck) — Rivian described it as “roomy.” Keeping with its “adventure” ethos, the R2 will also feature a nifty bike mount system that can connect easily with the vehicle’s rear accessory ports.

Developing…

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