Rivian provided more details on its upcoming R2 platform during their Q2 2023 conference call yesterday, with CEO RJ Scaringe presenting details about the R2 vehicles, their architecture, and the projected production timeline.
In terms of timelines, Scaringe confirmed the R2S compact crossover is still set to debut in early 2024, while production is slated to start in 2026 at Rivian’s new Georgia facility.
New details emerged about the platform itself however, with Scaringe revealing plans to adopt an updated network architecture, a move reminiscent of Tesla’s approach. By reducing the number of electronic control units (ECUs) by 60% and shortening the wiring harness length by 25%, Rivian aims to optimize efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Unlike traditional off-the-shelf components, Rivian will craft specialized in-house components, facilitating the consolidation of ECUs into vehicle zones.
The in-house designed zone ECUs represent another strategic edge. This approach empowers Rivian to exercise greater control over the software stack, with an added advantage of customer feedback integration. During the Q&A session, software expert Wassym Bensaid illustrated the company’s receptiveness to customer input, although the absence of Apple CarPlay support—despite user requests—stood out as an exception.
This architectural overhaul is anticipated to yield substantial cost savings, which Scaringe conservatively estimates as “thousands of dollars per vehicle.” (via Autoevolution) The enhanced network architecture will first debut in the R1 platform in 2024 before seamlessly integrating into the R2 lineup. This bodes well for competitive pricing, positioning Rivian’s R2 vehicles to squarely challenge Tesla’s offerings like the Model 3 and Model Y. The company has previously said they are targeting a price range between US$40,000 and US$60,000.
Scaringe also touched upon a new body design resulting from the simplification of electronics and network architecture. This innovation echoes Tesla’s megacastings strategy, affirming the necessity of forward-looking production techniques to remain cost-competitive in the ever-evolving EV landscape.