Rivian takes on Tesla with surprise R3 reveal

Rivian enters midsized crossover section with R3 but ramp-up presents challenges

Rivian takes on Tesla with surprise R3 reveal
Rivian unveiled both the R2 and R2 on Thursday

California EV maker Rivian has debuted its R2 EV on an all-new midsized vehicle platform in a long-awaited ceremony. But it also managed to confound expectations with an additional and untrailed offering.

The R2 five-seater SUV is Rivian's highly anticipated second vehicle series after the R1.

The firm also revealed another new EV, the R3. The compact hatchback crossover is noticeably smaller than most e-SUVs that OEMs have banked on for the North American market – immediately attracting comparisons to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV and historical VW Golf models.

The R2 and R3 will both feature two battery sizes. Although Rivian has not revealed the sizes it says the larger pack will achieve over 300 miles of range on a single charge and offer 0-60mph acceleration in under 3 seconds in the quickest powertrain configuration.

The R2 will sell at $45,000, approximately the same as the Model Y, Tesla's similarly sized global best-seller. Both also have a base model and a performance trim capable 0-60mph in around three seconds.

But Rivian has a long way to go to ramp up production to anywhere near the levels Tesla has achieved.

The company's upcoming Georgia manufacturing facility is slated to produce 400,000 vehicles/yr and will be central to the production of the two new vehicle lines. Cash burn, however, has recently been flagged by analysts as a concern for the company.

As Tesla's Model 3 and Model Y age, and Ford looks to move beyond its first generation EVs, new blood in the segment and increasing brand recognition could serve Rivian well in the midsize crossover market.

"Given that the Model Y is now the world's best selling vehicle, it is important to analyse whether it can continue to succeed," EV consultant and influencer James Carter says.
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Carter believes that it is the surprise R3, more than the R2, which may hold the key to future success for Rivian – a company yet to make a profit.

"[The R3] gives room for them to compete at a much lower price point in the true mainstream part of the market, which will bring in volume and revenue. The R3X also gives them a performance variant to match the Ioniq 5N and similar vehicles," Carter continues.

Rivian says it expects deliveries of both vehicles to begin in the first half of 2026.

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