Rivian R2 teased, Tank Turn shelved

Rivian on Friday provided the first tease of its R2, a smaller follow-up to the automaker’s R1T electric pickup and R1S electric SUV due in 2026.

CEO RJ Scaringe and design boss Jeff Hammoud showed a clay model of the R2 under a sheet during an Instagram question and answer session with Scaringe. Content from the Q&A was posted to Instagram Stories, which disappear after 24 hours unless the content is reshaped elsewhere. We grabbed a screenshot in case that doesn’t happen.

The covered clay model has the same boxy profile as the R1S SUV, but it appears to be a bit smaller. That lines up with previous reports, which indicate a smaller model that carries over the R1S styling, but in a smaller package closer to the current Jeep Grand Cherokee in size.

2022 Rivian R1S

2022 Rivian R1S

The R2 is expected to be a higher-volume model with a lower base price than the R1 models, which currently start at $79,000 and $84,000 (before destination) for the R1T and R1S, respectively. Scaringe earlier this year said Rivian is simplifying assembly and components sourcing for the R2, which should help keep costs down. Rivian originally planned to launch the R2 in 2025, but last year it announced that the launch will be delayed until 2026.

The R2 is expected to be built at Rivian’s new Georgia factory to supplement its current Illinois factory, which is a repurposed facility previously used by Mitsubishi. Located east of Atlanta, the $5 billion Georgia plant was due to start construction this year, with the first vehicles rolling off production lines in 2024, but it’s unclear if the loss of tax breaks from the state government will affect that timeline.

Rivian has also indicated plans for smaller EVs targeting China and Europe, but it’s unclear if that refers to the R2 or other future models. Rivian in 2021 trademarked multiple names, giving it control of R1S to R5S and R1T to R5T.

Rivian R1T pre-production

Rivian R1T pre-production

In the same Q&A, Scaringe also addressed the lack of the Tank Turn feature in current production Rivian vehicles. Rivian first showed the feature, which allows a quad-motor R1T or R1S to turn in place like a tank, in 2019. A patent application for a seemingly related “K-turn mode” surfaced in 2021. But the Tank Turn feature has now been shelved, Scaringe confirmed, because it doesn’t fit with Rivian’s ethos.

“Over the last year and a half we’ve arrived at the view that it’s a feature that, while we can do it, it’s so easily abused and so hard to make sure we don’t tear up trails and really do things that are in contrast to what we stand for as a company,” Scaringe said.

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