Rivian will delay the launch of its next-generation R2 platform until 2026, according to an official confirmation made in the company shareholder letter earlier this week.
Originally poised to launch in 2025, the smaller platform is slated to be the underpinnings of Rivian's more affordable R2 family of vehicles. It is also said to be one of the first platforms outside of its R1 family to be manufactured at its all-new $5 billion plant in Georgia that is set to open in 2024. However, it would appear that the plant will be dedicated to Rivian's other products for at least two years after coming online.
The R2 is still in the early development phase and Rivian says that it is confident in the company's ability to fund the project through 2025. It's unclear if there will be issues funding the project in the year between when it was initially slated for launch and 2026, though Rivian appears to be in a rather solid financial position given its balance sheet. Regardless, the delay means that the idea of buying an affordable vehicle with a Rivian badge will be significantly pushed back.
That being said, Rivian is selling every vehicle it can build. During its third quarter, Rivian delivered 7,373 vehicles which is a significant uptick from its second-quarter delivery figure of 4,467 vehicles. Rivian says that it is adding a second shift at its factory to accommodate its backlog of 114,000 R1 preorders.
The company is working through some growing pains surrounding ramping up production of its R1 family of vehicles. Rivian has reportedly been focusing on meeting its commitment of commercial EDV deliveries to Amazon. As one of its largest investors, the e-commerce giant has commissioned Rivian to build 10,000 vehicles by the end of 2022, though that number looks to be a far reach, as Amazon confirmed on Monday that it finally grew its fleet to 1,000 units as of this week. Amazon says that it expects to have 100,000 Rivian-branded trucks in its fleet by 2030, which seemingly leaves little room for Rivian to focus on ramping up production of its existing passenger vehicle fleet and new products.
Rivian notes that the eventual launch of the R2 platform will position the company with a "global market opportunity" that it can use to strengthen its position in the electric vehicle space even further, something it recently did in the commercial space by announcing a partnership with Mercedez-Benz.
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