Rivian’s R2 SUV is coming just in time for the next wave of new BEVs [Opinion]

(Credit: Rivian)

Rivian CEO and Founder RJ Scaringe teased details about the Rivian R2 SUV, the smaller sibling of the company’s R1S vehicle. The Rivian R2 is expected to launch by 2024 when a new wave of battery-electric vehicles is expected to arrive.

Scaringe teased the Rivian R2 SUV during his Instagram Q&A session last weekend. The tease was brief but sufficient to reveal that Rivan is indeed developing a new vehicle. The company covered the R2 with a black cloth, so the audience could only see its silhouette. 

Based on its brief appearance during Scaringe’s Q&A, the R2 SUV will be significantly smaller than the R1S but maintains its sibling’s general shape. Jeff Hammond, the Head of Rivian’s design team revealed that the vehicle under the black cover was a clay model of the R2 SUV. 

Automakers traditionally use industrial plasticine modeling material or hobby clay when figuring out the design of a new vehicle. Clay allows designers and engineers to play with the layout of the new vehicle and quickly make changes. Clay car models are also helpful in wind tunnel tests and experiments where design changes might affect the aerodynamic efficiency of a new car. 

Rivian R2 SUV & its Competition 

RJ Scaringe also hinted at new colors, materials, and finishes Rivian might roll out with the R2 SUV. During the Q&A session, a question about other R2 details was asked, and Scaringe replied by introducing the Director of Rivian’s CMF (color, materials, and finishes) team.

The R2 SUV might have its own colors, interiors, and finishes separate from its R1 siblings. Differentiating the R2 SUV from the R1 lineup would be wise for Rivian. The R2’s interiors, colors, and finishes would affect the final price of the battery electric vehicle (BEV). Other components of the R2 SUV would also affect its cost and, therefore, its sales performance in the market. 

Price and design will be critical factors in the R2 SUV’s success. The Rivian R2 SUV will launch at a time when a new wave of BEVs is set to hit the market. The new BEVs all have a few things in common. First, they are smaller, more compact. And second, they are more affordable. 

For instance, Tesla’s long-anticipated $25,000 compact vehicle is expected to hit the market around the same time as the Rivian R2. Tesla’s compact car is already in development and the company has teased a launch event soon. Some sources have shared that Tesla is working on a smaller version of the Model Y and aims to reach an annual production capacity of 4 million units for the compact vehicle. 

If rumors are true, the Rivian R2 SUV might directly compete with a compact Tesla Model Y. Rivian seems determined to give the R2 SUV the best shot on the market, too. Last year, Scaringe stated that Rivian’s R2 productions would use batteries manufactured domestically. If Rivian plays it right, the R2 SUV might be eligible for all of the Inflation Reduction Act’s $7,500 EV tax credits, giving it an edge in the BEV market—at least in the United States. 

Watch RJ Scaringe’s Instagram Q&A below!

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Rivian’s R2 SUV is coming just in time for the next wave of new BEVs [Opinion]
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