How Rivian Is Pulling Off Its $45,000 Electric SUV

How Rivian Is Pulling Off Its $45,000 Electric SUV Leave a comment

Final week, the electrical automaker Rivian unveiled the R2, its newest electrical SUV. When the automobile begins rolling off manufacturing traces—within the first half of 2026, Rivian says—the R2 will be a part of the R1S SUV and the R1T pickup truck within the automaker’s lineup.

Critically, Rivian pledges its latest entry will likely be cheaper: At “round” $45,000, in accordance Rivian’s press supplies, the SUV will value some $30,000 lower than its larger SUV cousin, and can nonetheless include about 300 miles of vary.

Pulling off the feat of constructing its new SUV extra inexpensive with out sacrificing vary or fashion mustn’t solely show vital in making Rivian’s newest experience stand out in an more and more crowded area of electric vehicles—it additionally would possibly save the corporate. How did Rivian make it work? “R1 was designed by addition. It’s our premium flagship. We received to say sure to lots of issues,” Jeff Hammoud, the automaker’s chief design officer, mentioned at an R2 unveiling occasion in Laguna Seashore, California, final week. “With R2, we’re actually enthusiastic about, to get the value level down, what do we have to say no to?”

It’s early, however the math appears to have labored: Rivian reported taking greater than 68,000 reservations within the first 24 hours after the SUV’s unveiling.

Rivian’s R1S flagship SUV, proven above, is greater, richer with options, and prices $30,000 greater than the brand new R2. Nevertheless, the R2 dropped the added value with out huge sacrifices in the way in which of vary, design, or expertise.

{Photograph}: Rivian

For the electrical automaker’s design staff, the trick to creating what executives referred to as the “extra accessible” R2 was to take care of the unique SUV’s design language—the weather that make it clearly a Rivian—whereas snipping manufacturing and supplies prices wherever they might. So the R2 has Rivian’s signature entrance, full with smile headlights, and appears like a shrunken model of the R1S. (The brand new automobile seats 5 folks as an alternative of seven.) Slicing extra prices got here right down to sensible engineering.

After an extended day of exhibiting off the R2 and its shock crossover counterpart, the R3, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe sat down with WIRED to debate his engineering and design groups’ little compromises that assist make the brand new SUV work.

Suspension System

In a bid to make the R1 line right into a sports activities automotive/off-roader hybrid, Rivian needed to go all out with its suspension system. As a result of electrical batteries are heavy, the automobile wanted air springs to make sure it may get the bottom clearance required to traverse tough roads but in addition the soundness to make the experience really feel snug and clean. An electro-hydraulic roll management system helps the R1 navigate tight corners—the sports activities automotive half—soak up off-road shocks and maximize wheel articulation, in order many wheels as potential can keep contact with even essentially the most treacherous terrain. The flamboyant system additionally enabled some pleasant perks. Camp mode, for instance, makes use of the suspension system to degree out the R1’s chassis whereas on uneven floor, making it extra nice to sleep or prepare dinner in, or simply grasp contained in the automobile or in its truck mattress.

However that advanced and costly suspension system wouldn’t work for the R2, says Scaringe. To chop down on manufacturing prices, the SUV has a set experience peak and stuck roll management. As a substitute of an impartial double wishbone entrance suspension design—utilizing two arms to attach every wheel to the chassis—the R2 makes use of a strut.

The change “was completely the proper name,” says Scaringe, as a result of it performs effectively in inner security testing, saves the automaker “a whole lot of {dollars},” and comes with the added benefit of giving the R2 extra entrance storage room.

Rear Home windows

For the R2, Rivian designers needed to provide passengers a basic “open-air” journey automotive expertise, the type discovered on a safari inside a Toyota Landcruiser. So the staff got down to give the rear passenger home windows full-drop glass. Simpler mentioned than finished. Many autos, together with the R1S, have a set quarter window, separated from the portion that rolls down by a strip of metallic and rubber referred to as a division bar. The configuration is sensible for plenty of autos, as a result of the rear passenger doorways overlap with the entrance of the rear wheelbases, that means that the small portion of glass behind the division bar has nowhere to go.

So to drop that window glass, Rivian’s design staff needed to spend a number of time twiddling with the dimensions of the R2’s again doorways. “There have been some goofy proportions for some time due to it,” says Scaringe. In the long run, the ultimate configuration permits your complete again home windows to drop. It additionally permits Rivian to save cash on glass, division bars, and sealants.

Rear Desk

Hammoud, the Rivian design head, says R1S homeowners actually love the SUV’s break up rear tailgate. It opens like a clamshell, which permits simpler entry to the trunk by shorter people, and likewise offers folks a spot to sit down, shielded from the weather. However that setup is fairly dear. Within the R2, Rivian has nixed the break up tailgate however added a helpful little rear tray desk, which can be utilized contained in the automotive throughout picnics or tenting jaunts however may also flip outdoors the automotive for use as a seat or altering desk.

Moveable Bluetooth Speaker

The R1 line comes with a built-in, detachable bluetooth speaker, which additionally emits a comfortable, yellow glow—a beautiful campsite temper setter. However temper setting ain’t free. The R2 doesn’t include the speaker. Unhappy, however essential to maintain prices down.


Rivian likes to speak about its software-first strategy. Certainly, its autos are continually accumulating knowledge. For that purpose, the automaker is aware of that drivers actually use its entrance trunk, or “frunk”—the space for storing the place a gas-powered automotive’s engine normally goes. Scaringe credit the R1 frunk’s recognition to its very easy-to-use open-and-close tech, which permits folks to open up and shut down the factor by double-tapping a button on the important thing fob or miserable a button on the entrance fascia, no pushing or prodding required.

However that system is pricey. For the R2, the frunk nonetheless opens with the faucet of a button, which releases a latch inside. However a small strap dangles from the within lid of the compartment. Drivers solely have to provide the strap a light-weight tug earlier than a cinch takes over, closing the frunk tight. “It’s simply the proper trade-off for a $45,000 automotive,” says Scaringe. Rivian will actually discover out if drivers agree about two years from now when the R2 rolls out of the manufacturing unit and onto American roads.

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