Rivian may have hit a rocky patch recently, but despite the company having to muddle through its current financial trouble and disappointing sales numbers - the future is bright. Company’s CFO Claire McDonough confirmed during the Deutsche Bank’s Global Auto Industry Conference that a new, smaller Rivian is about to join the lineup.
The rumors have been swirling since we saw Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe and the company’s design boss Jeff Hammond hold a Q&A session on Instagram last month. The background for the session was a clay model of an SUV under a cloth - it was significantly smaller than the current R1S SUV, and it was the most obvious clue that a new Rivian was on its way.
With Rivian’s CFO now confirming the schedule, we can get excited. The company plans for the R2 to be about the size of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and its target starting price is $40,000, which would make it hugely competitive. A $40,000 electric SUV would make many people think twice about buying a gas-powered equivalent - as long as the range is decent.
The Rivian R2 has had its own share of drama, initially the vehicle was supposed to go into production in 2025, but last year Rivian had to cut its costs dramatically, and the R2 was supposed to be delayed until at least 2026. It seems the project is back on track, with an official debut of the smaller Rivian SUV scheduled early next year.Artist's impression of what the R2 may look like
In 2019 RJ Scaringe, Rivian’s CEO, talked about Rivian having 5 electric vehicles on the market by 2025. This will be difficult to achieve now but at least the R2 is on its way. The new SUV will be built at Rivian’s new factory in Atlanta, Georgia. The factory itself caused Rivian some headaches, with the company losing the tax break on the land where the factory is being built. It means an additional $700 million in taxes will have to be paid over the 25-year lease contract, which Rivian did not budget for initially.
It seems this little bump in the road has been ironed out now, and the company is hard at work to get the new factory up and running. The 400,000-vehicle site still can achieve its planned opening in early 2024, and the announcement of the R2 debuting next year points to a happy ending - as long as Rivian can keep the lights on for a little while longer and avoid turning into Faraday Future.