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New Rivian R2 and surprise R3 revealed: is this its Tesla Model Y moment?

Smaller, more affordable electric SUVs land Stateside, coming to Europe... eventually

Published: 07 Mar 2024

Has Rivian just had its Tesla Model Y moment? Its shareholders will certainly be hoping so, after the reveal of a pair of smaller, more affordable electric SUVs to sit beneath its flagship R1T and R1S models – the predictably-named R2 and R3. And yes, they will be sold in Europe… eventually.

Introduced by CEO RJ Scaringe in Rivian’s swanky new Laguna Beach ‘space’ (don’t call it a dealership), the R2 is the one we were all expecting to see. The R3 was a rare surprise. We’ll deal with R2 first – the first model on Rivian’s new midsize platform.

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Shorter and narrower, but a little taller than the Tesla Model Y, prices will start from around $45,000 (a Model Y costs from $36,450 in the US) when deliveries kick off in the first half of 2026. There will be three versions to choose from – single, dual and tri-motor (two motors on the rear axle, one on the front) – with a claimed 0-60mph of under 3.0 seconds for the ‘tri’.

Battery details are to be confirmed, other than there’s more energy-dense chemistry, the pack is a structural element of the car and the range will be over 300-miles. A new ‘Perception Stack’ featuring 11 cameras, five radars and more computing power will give it “dramatically enhanced autonomous capabilities".

All windows, including the rear quarters and rear screen can be dropped electrically for “a unique open-air driving experience". Pretty sure they borrowed that idea from the Fisker Ocean, but interesting nonetheless, while new “haptic control dials” on the steering wheel can be rolled, clicked, pushed and pulled to control a variety of functions.

The front trunk will fit “a carryon suitcase plus a backpack, or up to six reusable grocery bags". Sorry plastic bags, you’re not welcome in Rivian’s sustainable future. The boot will fit “two checked suitcases, two carryon suitcases, plus a stroller and several backpacks above the cargo load floor". It’s a big boot in other words, and the rear seats fold flat for “a true car camping experience fit for two people". Two people who can’t be bothered to faff about with a tent.

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Speaking of which, Rivian is all about the adventure and will offer the option of a new, more compact ‘Travel Kitchen’ and a ‘Rivian Treehouse’ for R2 and R3. “Our take on a rooftop tent brings the nostalgia of an epic childhood fort with a heated mattress, integrated lighting system, and movie screen, all with incredible views.” Those views depend on where you park, surely, but not going to lie, we’re quite excited about this one.

 

Moving on to R3, for which the details get a little more vague. Not surprising, given it’ll arrive after R2 deliveries are underway – think 2027 earliest. Based on the same platform as R2, the R3 is the baby of the family and will be priced accordingly – around $35k to $40k here – more for the performance R3X version that’ll smash 0-60mph in ‘well under 3.0 seconds’.

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A few cheeky surprises, then, and a very well-considered product expansion for a company that’s making a big name for itself with its premium outdoorsy branding and impressive in-house engineering capabilities. Rivian delivered just over 50,000 R1Ts and R1Ss in 2023 - turns out that was just the warm up, the main event starts now.

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