Rivian offers a glimpse of the R2 electric SUV’s shape

A year ago, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said the company was on track to launch its next-generation R2 electric vehicle platform in 2025. Now, Scaringe is giving Rivian fans a teaser of the new compact SUV that’s expected to be much more affordable than the R1S, which currently starts at $78,000.

During an Instagram Q&A session hosted by Scaringe over Memorial Day weekend, the CEO took a moment to link up with Rivian lead designer Jeff Hammoud to show a glimpse of the R2’s shape. The two stood in front of a clay model of an R2 covered with a black cloth, outlining a vehicle that seems boxy like an R1S but smaller.

Scaringe also revealed in the session that the R1T electric truck will no longer be getting the “Tank Turn” four-wheel turning, citing the risk of the feature potentially damaging trails. Rivian has been revising powertrain options for its vehicles, including a recent removal of a Quad-Motor option paired with the Max battery pack.

As for the R2, Rivian is looking to start building the SUV as early as 2025. The company’s CFO, Claire Rauh McDonough, said during a Bank of America summit that Rivian expects to produce 200,000 R2 vehicles in 2026 and double it by the next goal.

McDonough also noted that R2 will compete in the luxury SUV segment, which includes vehicles like Tesla’s Model Y, Genesis’ GV60, and the Polestar 3. But R2’s production targets are still in question as Rivian deals with delays for its new Georgia factory, where the R2 will be built.

Rivian was all set to receive about $1.5 billion in subsidies in Georgia to build the factory, but in October, the incentives were blocked by a state judge. And there’s an active “No2Rivian” group in the state that includes residents who oppose the factory and the over $700 million of property tax breaks it would get.

Whether Rivian will succeed in meeting its targets for R2’s debut is still up in the air. But the automaker is going to need to make moves to catch up in the red-hot electric SUV market. Every EV manufacturer is either shipping or close to shipping a compact to midsize electric SUV, hoping to catch up to Tesla’s worldwide top-selling Model Y.