Rivian plans to take a step closer to becoming a full-line automaker next month, the automaker confirming it will reveal its R2 line on March 7. Smaller than the existing R1T pickup and R1S SUV, the R2 models also will be more affordable, officials last year indicating they could start around $40,000.
Tesla rival Rivian has so far been limited in how much of a dent it can make in the emerging EV market, its R1S SUV and R1T pickup both starting at more than $80,000. The automaker is hoping to gain more traction with the addition of a second, more affordable product line, the R2.
After hinting it could debut this year, a Rivian tweet today confirmed that we’ll get a first look at the new EV product family on March 7, though the automaker has yet to provide specific details on where that unveiling will take place. Also yet to be revealed: the production schedule, though it’s widely expected we may not actually see the new line-up reach showrooms for a year or more.
What’s in the works
Rivian has been vague when it comes to details about the R2, but it is reasonably expected to be a family of products, as is the case with the R1 line. Exactly what it’s planning to showcase, won’t be revealed for at least a month.
Most observers expect the R2 line to include an R2S SUV, likely between the size of a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Kia EV9. Also likely: an R2T that will be smaller than Rivian’s current pickup. It would come as an all-electric alternative to the likes of the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger or Chevrolet Colorado. There’s been no indication Rivian might target the shrinking U.S. sedan market – but it could have some surprises in store.
As with the existing R1 line-up, expect Rivian to offer both on- and off-road variants of both models.
When – and how much?
The current R1T starts at $80,800, with the R1S carrying a base MSRP of $85,800. That puts both models out of reach of the majority of U.S. motorists – though shorter-range variants are expected this year, prices expected to drip by about $6,000.
Last spring, Rivian CFO Claire McDonough gave same hints about R2 pricing, indicating they’ll likely come in at somewhere between $40,000 to $60,000, depending upon options. As with the R1 line, that could include various-sized battery packs.
Don’t head to the nearest Rivian showroom, even if you’re anxious to get into one of the new R2 models. The automaker’s existing plant in Normal, Illinois will remain focused on building the current R1S and R1T models, as well as the EDV electric vans, for which Amazon is a “Prime” customer.
R2 models will roll out of a new and still unfinished assembly plant in Georgia. If its plans are any indication, Rivian is tooling up the new plant to produce as many as 400,000 EVs annually, nearly triple the capacity in Illinois. But production isn’t expected to begin in Georgia until late next year, with the R2 line debuting for the 2025 model-year.
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A critical step
Rivian clearly could use more mainstream products. While its original plant is capable of assembling 150,000 vehicles annually, it delivered just over 50,000 of the electric vans, pickups and SUVs last year – something that has hurt its stock price in recent months.
While the explosive growth of the EV market – which surged eightfold from 2019 to 2023 – has flattened out, most analysts expect demand to rebound over the next several years. Key to that, according to Sam Abuelsamid, lead auto analyst at Guidehouse Insights, will be bringing out more affordable options for potential EV buyers – though other factors, including a lack of a robust public charging network, catch blame for the ongoing sales slowdown.
If the price range Rivian’s CFO revealed last year holds in place, it will position the R2 line smack in the middle of the market and an R2S around the same price as the Tesla Model Y. Looking forward, Tesla has indicated it is looking at driving costs even lower, with the expected Model 2 likely to come in around $25,000 to start. There’s no indication whether Rivian might also aim for an under-$30,000 offering though it has made clear the R2 line won’t be the end-all to its future product ambitions.