Rivian's third EV will be a powerful, capable rally-inspired wagon.
Leading up to the coronavirus-spawned shutdown earlier this year, electric vehicle startup Rivian was remarkably busy. The Michigan-based company, which has generated tons of positive buzz and attracted sizable investments from the likes of Ford and Amazon, is working to ready its Normal, Illinois factory to produce its first EV models - the R1T pickup and R1S SUV - but manufacturing faces delays due to Covid-19.
But long before Rivian's Illinois production plant was ever set to turn out a finished vehicle, the company had more than a vague idea of what would follow the R1T and R1S to market.
For its third vehicle, Rivian will borrow a play from Subaru, producing a vehicle that blurs the line between station wagon and crossover utility vehicle. The new car, dubbed the "R2R," has been described by our well-placed sources as something with the proportions sort of halfway between a Subaru WRX wagon and an Isuzu VehiCROSS - Isuzu's quirky, off-road-capable compact CUV from the late 1990s and early 2000s - except, of course, for the powertrain.
According to sources, total peak output for the R2R is said to be somewhere around 500 horsepower, and as a matter of course, will pack all-wheel drive and four motors.
This new info builds on what Rivian CEO Robert "RJ" Scaringe said about the vehicle back in 2018, who only hinted at the time that it would be a sort of "rally car" with more ground clearance.
Developing vehicles with off-road capability in mind is something that Rivian already has some experience in. Back in December, the EV newcomer released a headline-grabbing video of its R1T pickup performing a zero-radius "tank turn" - a maneuver made possible by the fact that each of the truck's four wheels is powered by its own, independent electric drive motor.
The Rivian R2R will have the same basic powertrain configuration, with quad motors, but with a lower output than the trucks. And, we're told, a more agreeable price point that the R1T truck and R1S SUV, too. So, if you were holding out for a 500 horsepower all-electric five-door backroad blaster, keep your eye on Rivian.