Rivian surprises with R3 and R3X electric SUVs

Rivian took a page from Steve Jobs and had “one more thing” to show off during its R2 reveal event in California today. And it was a stunner.

The Rivian R3 is a slightly shorter, sportier-looking electric SUV than the R2, and it will come in a performance variant badged as R3X. Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said the R3 “takes the package of R2 platform [and] shrinks it.”

The R3 is “designed with even tighter dimensions–and at a lower price point–than R2,” the company said — though it didn’t immediately release the price of the R3. Reservations for the R3 will start at a later date.

The R3 and R3X have sloping rear ends compared to the boxier R2. And like the R2, it will come in two battery sizes, both with over 300 miles of range and zero to 60mph acceleration of three seconds. The R3X will have “more dynamic abilities, both on and off road,” the company said.

The R3 and R3X will launch “soon after” the R2 “to ensure a smooth launch and rapid ramp of R2,” the company said. This is based on “learnings” from the company’s simultaneous launch of the R1T, R1S, and EDV delivery van. The vehicles will also be available to international markets after launching in North America, with no timetable yet shared.

Like the R2, the R3 and R3X will feature Rivian’s new 4695 cylindrical battery cells, which is 15 mm taller than Tesla’s 4680 cells. And it will have a native version of Tesla’s NACS charging port built directly into the vehicle. DC fast charging will take the R3 from 10 to 80 percent in about 30 minutes, Rivian said.

The company is also promising a more powerful computer, complimented by a sensor suite that includes 11 cameras and five radars. The R3 will have “dramatically enhanced autonomous capabilities,” though the company didn’t specify what level of automation it was shooting for.

One of the features highlighted by Scaringe during the event was a rear gate window that lifts up to allow for extra storage, especially of long items. (He called it “flipper glass,” but it was unclear if that was a nickname or something more official.) And like the R2, the rear seats fold flat for added cargo space — which he said “creates an opportunity for in-car camping.”

There’s still a lot that’s unknown about the R3, but if the R2 is meant to compete with the big boys like the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E, then the R3 looks more like a rival to the Korean EVs, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6.

“This is the vehicle when we walk around in the studio every season you’re like oh, I want that so bad,” Scaringe said.


Update March 7th 4:15PM ET: “One more thing” was a hallmark of Steve Jobs’ Apple presentation. A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed it to Elon Musk (who has used it several times). We regret the error.


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