Rivian CEO calls $48K the sweet spot for EV prices, says R2 will rival Tesla’s Model Y

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Rivian looks to expand the brand with its more affordable R2 electric SUV. Ahead of the R2’s official debut, Rivian’s CEO RJ Scaringe called $48,000 an “important sweet spot” for buyers switching from gas vehicles. Scaringe also said the upcoming R2 will compete in the same market as Tesla’s best-selling Model Y.

Rivian CEO calls $48K the sweet spot as R2 launch looms

In a new interview with Forbes, Scaringe explained Rivian’s ambitions of going mass market. “The average transaction price of a vehicle, any vehicle in the United States, is around $48,000.”

Scaringe explained, “We think that’s a really important sweet spot, to be in that range, to create a viable option for customers that are coming out of combustion-powered vehicles.”

Being competitive on cost is becoming increasingly essential as price cuts from leaders like Tesla are pressuring others to follow suit. Earlier today, Ford announced it was cutting the price of the Mustang Mach-E and introducing new incentives for the Lightning electric pickup.

Rivian introduced new Standard battery pack options for the R1T and R1S earlier this month, dropping the starting prices to $70,000 and $75,000, respectively.

According to Cox Automotive data, the average price of an EV at the end of 2023 was $50,798. That’s within $2,040 of the average gas-powered vehicle at $48,795. Tesla was even closer at an average transaction price of $50,051.

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Rivian R1S (Source: Rivian)

R2 will “greatly expand” the brand

Rivian’s CEO said more unique EVs are needed. “Products available in the market today cover a very small subset of the segments,” both in price and form.

Scaringe chalked up the reported “slow down” in EV demand as “more a reflection of a lack of product choice.” Despite confirming that R2 will be smaller than the R1S and will meet the battery requirements for the $7,500 EV tax credit, Scaringe did not offer any new details.

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Rivian R2 clay model (Source: Rivian)

Rivian’s CEO said R2 will capture “the essence of what makes a Rivian a Rivian” in a smaller, more affordable package.

According to Scaringe, R2 will compete in the same segment as Tesla’s top-selling Model Y. Leading up to its official debut, Rivian gave us our first look at the R2 in a new teaser video.

Rivian R2 teaser (Source: Rivian/ Youtube)

Shortly after, the R2 was reportedly spotted filming in downtown LA. The images show what appears to be a smaller electric SUV sitting next to the R1S, aligning with previous findings.

A patent filed by Rivian last month revealed a more compact electric SUV with slightly smaller headlights and rear quarter panels.

Scaringe said the R1 vehicles introduced Rivian to the world, but “R2 greatly expands the relevance of Rivian to a much broader set of consumers.” Rivian’s CEO said he’s “never been as excited” about a project as he is for R2.

R2 will be built at Rivian’s second manufacturing plant in Georgia. It will be a smaller, more affordable electric SUV with starting prices around $45,000.

Rivian will officially reveal the new R2 at its new Laguna showroom on March 7, 2024, at 10 am PST. You can check back here for the full details.

Electrek’s Take

Rivian’s R2 comes at a key time as the EV maker looks to take the brand mainstream. The R1S and R1T were designed as flagship products to put Rivian on the map and generate some cash flow.

Now, R2 is set to expand the brand. Rivian has already established itself as a luxury EV maker. Now, the R2 will help unlock an entirely new segment of buyers.

Ed Kim, president of industry consultant AutoPacific, said the R2 is happening at a good time as EVs are reaching mainstream customers. Kim explained as “EVs are becoming more relevant to mainstream consumers, here comes this much more mainstream-priced R2 that’s a lot more attainable and affordable.”

Although Scaringe said R2 will rival Tesla’s Model Y, it will likely take share from gas-powered vehicles like the Ford Bronco, Subaru Forester, Chevy Traverse, and Jeep Compass.

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