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

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Last week, the electrical automaker Rivian unveiled nan R2, its latest electrical SUV. When nan conveyance starts rolling disconnected accumulation lines—in nan first half of 2026, Rivian says—the R2 will subordinate nan R1S SUV and nan R1T pick-up truck successful nan automaker’s lineup.

Critically, Rivian pledges its newest introduction will beryllium cheaper: At “around” $45,000, according Rivian’s property materials, nan SUV will costs immoderate $30,000 little than its bigger SUV cousin, and still travel pinch astir 300 miles of range.

Pulling disconnected nan feat of making its caller SUV much affordable without sacrificing scope aliases style should not only beryllium captious successful making Rivian’s latest thrust guidelines retired successful an progressively crowded section of electric vehicles—it besides mightiness prevention nan company. How did Rivian make it work? “R1 was designed done addition. It’s our premium flagship. We sewage to opportunity ‘yes’ to a batch of things,” Jeff Hammoud, nan automaker’s main creation officer, said astatine an R2 unveiling arena successful Laguna Beach, California, past week. “With R2, we’re really reasoning about, to get nan value constituent down, what do we request to opportunity ‘no’ to?”

It’s early, but nan mathematics seems to person worked: Rivian reported taking much than 68,000 reservations successful nan first 24 hours aft nan SUV’s unveiling.

Rivian's R1S flagship SUV, shown above, is bigger, richer pinch features, and $30,000 much costly than nan caller R2. However, nan R2 dropped nan added costs without large sacrifices successful nan measurement of range, design, aliases experience.

Photograph: Rivian

For nan electrical automaker’s creation team, nan instrumentality to creating what executives called nan “more accessible” R2 was to support nan original SUV’s “design language”—the elements that make it intelligibly a Rivian—while snipping manufacturing and materials costs wherever they could. So nan R2 still has Rivian’s signature front, complete pinch grin headlights, and looks for illustration a shrunken type of nan R1S. (The caller conveyance seats 5 passengers alternatively of seven.) Cutting much costs came down to smart engineering.

After a agelong time of showing disconnected nan R2 and its astonishment crossover counterpart, nan R3, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe sat down pinch WIRED to talk his engineering and creation teams’ small compromises that thief make nan caller SUV work.

Suspension System

In a bid to make nan R1 statement into a sports car-offroader hybrid, Rivian had to spell all-out pinch its suspension system. Because electrical batteries are heavy, nan conveyance needed aerial springs to guarantee it could get nan crushed clearance required to traverse unsmooth roads, but besides nan stableness to make nan thrust consciousness comfortable and smooth. An electro-hydraulic rotation power strategy helps nan R1 navigate tight corners—the sports car part—absorb off-road shocks, and maximize instrumentality articulation, truthful arsenic galore wheels arsenic imaginable tin support interaction pinch moreover nan astir treacherous terrain. The fancy strategy besides enabled immoderate delightful perks. “Camp mode,” for example, uses nan suspension strategy to level retired nan R1’s chassis while connected uneven ground, making it much pleasant to slumber aliases navigator in, aliases conscionable bent wrong nan conveyance aliases successful its motortruck bed.

But that analyzable and costly suspension strategy wouldn’t activity for nan R2, says Scaringe, Rivian’s CEO. To trim down connected manufacturing costs, nan SUV has a fixed thrust tallness and fixed rotation control. Instead of an independent, “double wishbone” beforehand suspension design—using 2 arms to link each instrumentality to nan chassis—the R2 uses a strut.

The alteration “was perfectly nan correct call,” says Scaringe, because it performs good successful soul information testing, saves nan automaker “hundreds of dollars,” and comes pinch nan added advantage of giving nan R2 much beforehand retention room.

Rear Windows

For nan R2, Rivian designers wanted to springiness passengers a classical “open air” escapade car experience, nan benignant recovered connected a safari wrong a Toyota Landcruiser. So nan squad group retired to springiness nan rear rider windows full-drop glass. Easier said than done. Many vehicles, including nan R1S, person a fixed 4th window, separated from nan information that rolls down by a portion of metallic and rubber called a section bar. The configuration makes consciousness for tons of vehicles because nan rear rider doors overlap pinch nan beforehand of nan backmost wheelbases, meaning that nan mini information of solid down nan section barroom has obscurity to go.

So to driblet that model glass, Rivian’s creation squad had to walk tons of clip fiddling pinch nan size of nan R2’s backmost doors. “There were immoderate goofy proportions for a while because of it,” says Scarige. In nan end, nan last configuration allows nan full backmost windows to drop. It besides allows Rivian to prevention money connected glass, section bars, and sealants.

Rear Table

Hammoud, nan Rivian creation head, says R1S owners really emotion nan SUV’s divided rear tailgate. It opens up for illustration a clamshell, which allows easier entree to nan trunk by shorter humans, and besides gives group a spot to sit, shielded from nan elements. But that setup is beautiful pricey. In nan R2, Rivian has nixed nan divided tailgate but added a useful small rear tray table, which tin beryllium utilized wrong nan car during picnics aliases camping jaunts, but tin besides flip extracurricular nan car to beryllium utilized arsenic a spot aliases changing table.

Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The R1 statement comes pinch a built-in, removable bluetooth speaker, which besides emits a soft, yellowish glow—a beautiful campsite mood-setter. But temper mounting ain’t free. The R2 doesn’t travel pinch nan speaker. Sad, but basal to support costs down.

Frunk

Rivian likes to talk astir its software-first approach. Indeed, its vehicles are perpetually collecting data. For that reason, nan automaker knows that drivers really usage its beforehand trunk, aliases “frunk”—the retention abstraction wherever a gas-powered car’s motor usually goes. Scaringe credits nan R1 frunk’s fame to its very easy-to-use open-and-close tech, which allows group to unfastened up and adjacent down nan point by double-tapping a fastener connected nan cardinal fob aliases depressing a fastener connected nan beforehand fascia, nary pushing aliases prodding required.

But that strategy is expensive. For nan R2, nan frunk still opens pinch nan pat of a button, which releases a latch inside. But a mini strap dangles from nan wrong lid of nan compartment. Drivers only person to springiness nan strap a ray tug earlier a cinch takes over, closing nan frunk tight. “It’s conscionable nan correct trade-off for a $45,000 car,” says Scaringe. Rivian will really find retired if drivers work together astir 2 years from now erstwhile nan R2 rolls retired of nan mill and onto American roads.