Rivian surprises with 3 new models and new battery technology – Images and Tesla comparison

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Rivian today is more or less where Tesla was a decade ago, struggling to ramp up production and sell enough cars to finance the growth of its business. However, it faces challenges that Tesla does not. First, interest rates are higher today than they were when Tesla ramped up production of the Model S.

On the other hand, the fossil fuel group has woken up and discovered that electric cars are actually viable and a threat to gasoline demand. As the forces of evil in The empire strikes backthey are pulling out all the stops to bash electric cars and promote fear and confusion among potential electric car buyers.

There is one big difference. While Elon Musk wasted two precious years trying to get the falcon-wing doors of the Model expanding its business into segments of the new car market where buyers are more price-conscious.

New Rivian medium platform

Rivian R2

On March 7, 2024, Rivian introduced the R2, a five-passenger SUV that is smaller than the R1S. That model has been expected for some time. What wasn’t expected was an even smaller R3 and a performance version of that car known as the R3X.

Rivian R3 walking
Rivian R3
Rivian R3 surfboard
Rivian R3
Rivian R3 off-road
Rivian R3
Rivian R3 outdoors
Rivian R3

All three will be built on the company’s new mid-size platform, which Rivian says consolidates and eliminates parts thanks to an intelligent design that uses high-pressure castings. In addition, there is a structural battery unit where the top of the package also serves as the floor of the vehicles built on that platform. There are also advanced closure systems that dramatically reduce complexity. The R2 and R3 will use the network architecture, computing topology and software stack developed by Rivian.

The really big news is in that battery pack. Rivian uses 4695 cylindrical battery cells, which are 15 mm larger than the 4680 cells developed by Tesla. BMW is also using the larger cells in many of its Neue Klasse electric cars that will hit the market in 2025, if not sooner. According to Engine1, the larger cells will have higher amp-hour ratings, allowing them to charge and discharge faster while making better use of regenerative braking systems.

Engine1 adds that the battery pack for the mid-size platform consists of 3 large modules separated by heavy-duty internal frame rails. Each module is 34 cells wide and 8 deep, for a total capacity of 272 cells. Assuming the cells are connected in series, this means the R2 and its siblings use a 1000V architecture – a big leap from the 800V architecture that is becoming the norm in the industry.

“If three of these modules are connected in parallel, the voltage remains the same, but the available current increases significantly. We don’t know what the individual cell ratings are, but other 4695 cells can perform pulse discharges at up to 10 degrees Celsius, or ten times their rated capacity in amp hours. This could mean available power of up to 900 kW, or approximately 1,200 hp peak power.” Engine1 say.

Rivian says both the R2 and R3 will have two battery sizes. The larger package has a range of more than 300 miles (480 km) on a single charge and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (100 km/h) in less than 3 seconds for the fastest powertrain configuration.

Rivian R2 Specifications

The R2 is 185.6 centimeters long – 15 less than the R1S and about 2 centimeters less than the Tesla Model Y. It is 75 centimeters wide (84.4 centimeters with the mirrors) and 66.9 centimeters high. The wheelbase is 115.6 centimeters long. Reportedly, all of Rivian’s new models will be available with a single rear-engine, or in dual- and triple-motor configurations. The company says the base price of the R2 will be less than $45,000, with deliveries starting in 2026. The R3 and R3X are expected to be introduced at even lower prices after the R2 launches. All three cars come from the factory with NACS charging ports on the rear to facilitate connection to Tesla Superchargers.

Rivian promises a more powerful computer, supplemented with a sensor suite with eleven cameras and five radars. The R2 will have “dramatically improved autonomous capabilities,” it said, but did not specify what level of automation that system will support, other than to say the R2 and R3 will both offer “dramatically improved autonomous capabilities.”

“I have never been so excited to launch new products. R2 and R3 are clearly Rivian in terms of performance, capabilities and usability, but at prices that make them accessible to many people,” said RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian. “Our design and engineering teams are laser-focused on driving innovation not only in product features, but also in our manufacturing approach to achieve dramatically lower costs. R2 offers buyers starting in the $45,000 price range a much-needed choice with a thoroughly developed technology platform that’s bursting with personality. I can’t wait to get these to customers.”

Rivian Chief Design Officer Jeff Hammond added: “Our R1 flagship vehicles served as our handshake with the world. With R2 and R3, our obsessive goal is to stay true to Rivian’s product features while making our products accessible to many more people. Through a tight integration of hardware, software and human-centered design, we designed R2 by balancing form and function while building on our inviting and iconic design language.”

Rivian R2 features

The R2 has extra legroom for rear seat passengers. Both the rear and front seat backrests can be folded down for extra carrying capacity or for camping. The frunk is generous in size and the interior has two large gloveboxes where the R1s and R1T have none. The rear window opens upwards, allowing long items to be transported with the tailgate closed, and an ingenious bicycle carrier is available. The company says there are three features the R2 excels at:

  • AdventureThe R2’s four passenger windows and power rear glass fold down completely, and the power rear side windows allow ventilation to the outside, creating a unique open-air driving experience. On the R3, the hatchback-style design maximizes space while maintaining a sporty, athletic silhouette.
  • Room: With an extreme focus on legroom for the rear passengers, even long journeys in the R2 and R3 are comfortable. With seats that fold completely flat, a spacious trunk front and rear and extra storage space in the interior, there’s room for everyone and all their belongings.
  • Refined accents: Rivian’s new steering wheel with integrated haptic controls makes it easier to stay focused on the road ahead. Materials balance durability and durability with easy-to-clean textiles and finishes.

Rivian R3 and R3X: a lot of fun in a smaller package

Rivian R3 frunk
Loading the Rivian R3 frunk.
Charge Rivian R3 at home
Charge Rivian R3 at home. (Beautiful house by the way!)
Rivian R3 charging port
Rivian R3 charging port.

The Rivian R3 is a midsize crossover that is decent in size but big on performance, off-road capability, passenger comfort and storage space, the company says. R3X is a performance variant of R3 that offers even more dynamic capabilities, both on and off-road. The exterior and interior design of the R3 is inviting and iconic. The R3 demonstrates the scalability of the Rivian brand across different form factors, while remaining immediately recognizable.

Rivian R3 steering wheel front interior
Rivian R3 steering wheel.
Rivian R3 front interior
Rivian R3 interior.
Rivian R3 interior rear seat
Rivian R3 rear seat.
Rivian R3 rear seat center console and cup holders
Rivian R3 rear seats and cup holders.

Production returns to normal, Illinois

A year ago, Rivian announced it was building a new $5 billion factory in Georgia, but the company has since faced significant financial headwinds, forcing it to lay off some of its workforce. It also burns cash at an alarming rate.

It produces the R1T and R1S at the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, and will start production of the R2 and R3 there to save money. While the Georgia plant remains important to her future plans, she first needs to sell some cars and raise some cash before she can think about a new production facility.

The company believes this approach will significantly reduce the financial risks associated with launching and ramping up new models. The capacity of the Illinois plant can be expanded to 215,000 units per year. Once Rivian is on solid financial footing, it plans to pursue the Georgia plant.

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The takeaway

Rivian is in a precarious position. The company has exciting new products to offer, but that doesn’t mean it can successfully put them into production. And while a single-motor R2 with the smaller battery might cost less than $45,000, the all-singing, all-dancing long-range version with three motors could easily cost $15,000 to $20,000 more. The company has not yet said whether the new models will be eligible for the federal EV tax credit/rebate.

Right now the Rivian R2 and R3 are potential bright spots in the EV revolution, but as my old Irish grandmother repeatedly warned, “There’s a lot of fault between the cup and the lip.” It takes more than good designs and press releases to become a successful car company. If Rivian were to close the doors of its Illinois factory in two years and abandon its dream of a shiny new factory in Georgia, there are those who wouldn’t be completely surprised.


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