California-headquartered Rivian Automotive has earned plenty of praise for its all-electric R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, while the Electric Delivery Van (EDV) it’s building for Amazon has become a strong pillar for the company’s business. The company is currently working on its future line of products, chief among which will be a more compact R2 platform underpinning more affordable models that will come in a smaller size.
Given the current full-size models mentioned above, Rivian will kick off the R2 offensive with a smaller SUV and truck, which are expected to use the R2S and R2T names, respectively. These vehicles were initially scheduled to debut in 2025. Nevertheless, as the company is working to build a new production site in Georgia, the R2 vehicles have been delayed.
Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe recently told YouTuber Marques Brownlee that we’re going to see a development that’s part of the R2 platform within the next year. Nevertheless, this will likely be a concept rather than a production vehicle—once again, Rivian’s Georgia plant is on track for a 2024 inauguration, following a $5 billion investment.
The head honcho went on to discuss some details about the smaller and cheaper Rivians based on the R2 architecture. The general idea is for the company to offer the same level of personality for this vehicle while reducing costs by trimming the various features rather than using inferior components.
And, for the list of hardware we can expect to go away, the CEO mentioned that the R2 models will skip the optional quad wheel motors of the R1—in the R1 dual-motor, buyers get 600 hp, but the output may be reduced for the R2, since this will be lighter. Still, we expect the same 800V architecture that facilitates fast charging and smaller battery packs.
Scaringe also listed the air springs and electrohydraulic suspension as potentially disposable, with a less important item being the flashlight in the door of the current models—you’ll find the CEO’s future product talk at the 5:49 and 27:53 timestamps of the video below.
Last November, Rivian issued a letter to its shareholders, mentioning that the R2 architecture will “unlock a global market opportunity”. And, given the smaller footprint, it would only make sense for the upcoming models to travel past North America, reaching Europe and perhaps even China.
No prototypes of the Rivian R2 have been spotted to date. However, given the said delay, we can expect the production models to arrive in 2026 at the earliest.
Rivian R2 rendering: a designer not linked to the company did this in his spare time
Until then, we’ve brought along a pair of renderings depicting a Rivian SUV smaller than the R1S, which we’ve decided to label as the R2S. Regardless, the work comes from John McInnis (@john_d_t-mcinnis), who is a creative vehicle designer for American electric motorcycle producer LiveWire. Initially launched as Harley-Davidson’s EV arm in 2021, the company has spun off and, thanks to a SPAC merger, went public in September last year.
For this non-Rivian-affiliated work, the LiveWire designer initially created the 3D work in Blender (the wheels were done in Fusion360) and then fed the result into the Midjourney AI image generation sofware, while finally polishing the images in Photoshop.
We can see the styling language of Rivian applied to a smaller SUV, with the design of the greenhouse making the vehicle appear even more rugged than the R1S. As for the Antarctic exploration vehicle take, you can think of this as a way to draw more attention to the project—while Rivian’s CEO hints at the R2 maintaining the serious off-roading abilities of the R1, the take we have here is obviously a particular one and we wouldn’t expect it on the actual vehicle.
As for the interior, this maintains the airy and ergonomics-positive feel of the R1. In fact, with less content going into the R2, this will give the company the opportunity to build on these assets.