Rivian surprise announces the R3 hatchback, and it’s cute as hell

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Rivian just surprise-announced an all-electric hatchback called the R3 — giving the company a big Apple-esque “one more thing” announcement at the event that was ostensibly supposed to be all about its new R2 SUV.

The hatch has a lot of design similarities to the Honda E, another electric hatchback that captured the minds of a lot of prospective EV buyers a few years ago. And it represents an entirely new market for Rivian to try and play in — crucially, one that Tesla currently dominates. While we knew Rivian was working on an “R3,” I’m not sure many people expected it to look quite like this.

Unfortunately, the company didn’t immediately share… any real details whatsoever about when the R3 will be available, or how much it will cost. It’s likely still years away from production, as CEO RJ Scaringe implied on stage at Thursday’s event that it will be built at the company’s new factory in Georgia, which is only just getting built now.

What we do know is the R3 will have a slightly shorter wheelbase compared to the R2 — 2800mm versus 2935mm — and there will be a sporty, colorful R3X variant. Unlike the R2, the company is not yet taking preorders. There’s not even a section on Rivian’s website for the R3.

It is something of a shot in the arm for the company, though, which is slated to build roughly as many cars this year as it did in 2023 — news that Wall Street took poorly. The R3 is a near-term fix for that, apparently, as Rivian’s stock price soared after the surprise reveal.

Many questions remain, especially on price, range, or whether what we saw Thursday is even a working prototype. But it’s refreshing to see that a company that got its start on enormous, heavy pickup trucks and SUVs is working on something much more approachable and, perhaps, even more affordable.

This story is developing…

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