Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe Interview: Hidden R1 bidirectional charging, R2 NACS, ‘mind-bending’ R3 build timeline, more

Rivian gave us a quick 15 minutes with CEO RJ Scaringe to talk about the R2 and R3. Believe me, we took full advantage of that time to ask the pressing questions you told us you had in our watch party and many others. Some of his answers are the first we’ve heard on the matter.

Rivian R3/X !!!

It is hard to believe that this secret was kept so well. It is the sign of a company that has its act together and loyal employees.

On Rivian R3 vs. R2, there is a contingent within the company that wants to bring out the R3 first. At this moment, the R2 is slated to come out first. At this moment, there is a “stagger” between R2 which will be launched out of Normal in 2026 H1. It sounds like it is uncertain if the R3/X will be launched out of Normal or Georgia. Also it is uncertain what this stagger will be but a year would put R3/X at H1 2027, which is a long way off.

On the R3, RJ called out its “incredible, mind-bending” capability and speed. Put in context, the tri-motor R2 will do 0-60 in ‘well under’ 3 seconds and with the same drivetrain, the smaller, lighter R3X should be significantly faster than that. All of that will still include the ability to go off road. In a hatchback (!!) form factor.

Rivian R2 Pack size

RJ didn’t go into specifics on the kWh capacity of the packs but there will be at least 2 pack sizes. The $45K version with RWD will go under 300 miles or about 270 miles. It is uncertain what the actual EPA will be. The larger pack will be over 300 miles even with the Trimotor under 3 seconds 0-60 version, which is an impressive efficiency for a rocket SUV.

If I had to guess, I would say the larger pack will be around 100kWh and the smaller pack around 80kWh.

R2 NACS port

I think our Jamie Dow was the first to lift the cover off the R2 NACS charge port, but it was hidden a little low on the rear passenger side, which makes it a bit of a hassle for Superchargers. RJ went into some details on the thinking here, including that it will be convenient for current Rivian owners. I do wonder if this will present problems for Tesla Superchargers especially while towing.

Camp Compact Kitchen

Our accessories announcement post assumed that these products would be released in time for the R2. However, RJ said that these new products would be available for R1S/T owners as well and would be released much sooner. This means that the Camp/compact kitchen, complete with an induction oven, will be available soon for R1S and R1T owners. I valiantly offered to review this early, which I know you all would appreciate. Strangely, I’m also interested in the bike rack, tent, and particularly that removable hauler attachment, which can’t come soon enough.

R2 and R1 Bidirectional Charging

This was the first time I’ve heard anyone at Rivian acknowledge on the record that the R1S and R1T had bidirectional charging capability inside, waiting to be unlocked via a software update. That means a 240V inverter could be hung off of it like Ford’s Pro Power and Tesla’s CyberTruck to power a house in case of an outage. This is something that Rivian could “productize” almost immediately and get a good return on minimal investment.

The better news is that R2 will have an integrated 240V AC output option, though only 120V was shown at the event. RJ also said that the 240V AC output would be an upcoming R1S/T option, but it doesn’t sound like it can be retrofitted.

We’re going to keep working to find details here because I know a lot of you (and me) are chomping at the bit for this.

400V or 800V system?

RJ didn’t say on screen which system the battery would be but remarks off the call make me think that this will be a 400V system because of the cost savings aspect. The thinking is that bigger and more powerful vehicles would be better suited to 800V technologies, so perhaps the higher-performance R1/2/3 vehicles in the future will make more sense.

It also means that Rivian vehicles won’t have insanely fast charging compared to Cybertruck, Silverado/Hummer trucks or even Porsche/Hyundai cars but Rivian has been pushing the 400V charging speeds as fast as anyone.

Perhaps what I’ve heard most about Rivian’s presentation today, besides how much everyone wants the R3 and how remarkable it was kept a secret, was that it was refreshing to listen to a down-to-earth, earnest leader.

I’m under no illusion that there is an army of PR folks behind the camera in the interview making sure he reveals as few interesting pieces of news as possible, and you can tell RJ is PR-trained to a fault.

But it is really refreshing that little things like starting the event on time so as not to waste other people’s time, and you can tell this has actually been practiced and reduced to be succinct. Plus, talking to someone in a leadership role who not only knows their product inside and out but also doesn’t make me cringe feels great.

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