Tesla rival Rivian is coming to Europe with new R2 electric SUV

Follow-up act to the Rivian R1S and R1T is a smaller, all-electric SUV called R2.

Rivian R2
(Image credit: Rivian)

You may be forgiven for not knowing much about Rivian, a Californian electric car company founded in 2009. But that’s about to change, as its third EV, to be called the R2, is destined for Europe.

To be revealed on 7 March, the R2 will be smaller than its predecessors, the R1S (an electric SUV) and the R1T (a closely related pickup truck built on the same platform). Those more compact dimensions should make the R2 feel at home on our narrow European streets, while still sharing plenty of Rivian DNA.

The face will be immediately familiar, as a teaser image published by Rivian shows how the R2’s light signature (car designer-speaker for the shape of the headlights) is almost identical to that of the R1S and R1T, pictured below. It’s unlikely you’ll mistake the Rivian R2 for any other car, even at night, given how its headlights are connected by a massive and very thick light bar unlike anything else on UK roads.

Bumping up the brightness of Rivian’s teaser pic doesn’t unearth too many extra clues, but it’s clear how the car is an SUV with good ground clearance, and how it shares its general proportions with its larger siblings.

Rivian R1T

(Image credit: Rivian)

Being smaller also means the R2 will be cheaper, so Americans can expect to pay less than the circa-$75,000 the R1 range starts at.

It’s hard to take a stab at European and UK prices for now, but if it lands somewhere around the £50,000 mark we’ll be pretty happy. Hopefully this will be the Model 3 moment for Rivian, and see the startup forge into the mainstream just as Tesla did when its smaller and more affordable car arrived after the larger, pricier Model S and Model X.

Rivian says the R2 is built on a new platform, not that shared by the R1T truck and R1S seven-seat SUV. We’ll be interested to see if the R2’s underpinnings are scalable (perhaps it’ll also form the foundations of future R3 and R4 models), and if the R2 will also come in truck and SUV variants. Naturally, the latter will be the most popular by far in the UK.

Battery size and other specifications are also firmly in the ‘unknown’ column for now, but we can use the larger R1 platform as a starting point. The R1S and R1T are available with battery capacities ranging from 105 kWh to an absolutely massive 180 kWh. The latter plainly won’t fit in a smaller vehicle, but we're hopeful the 105 kWh pack might slot into the R2. Rivian claims around 270 miles of range from its smallest battery, so in a more compact R2 it should be able to offer even more.

Safe to say, we’re pretty excited about the Rivian R2 and can’t wait to see more when the big reveal takes place on 7 March.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.