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

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 is reminiscent of the boxier Volkswagen Golf. And it represents an entirely new market of smaller EVs 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 about when the R3 will be available, or how much it will cost. It’s likely still years away from production. CEO RJ Scaringe implied onstage at Thursday’s event that it will be built at the company’s new factory in Georgia, which is not yet built.

Rivian R3 Hatchback

Image Credits: Rivian

What we do know is the R3 will have a slightly shorter wheelbase compared to the R2 — 2800 mm versus 2935 mm — and there will be a sporty, colorful R3X variant. It will be built on the R2’s platform (which won’t be confusing whatsoever) and will be “more affordable” than the $45,000 R2. Much like the R2, the R3 will be available in single-, double-, and tri-motor variants. Unlike the R2, the company is not yet taking preorders.

“[R3] takes the packaging of R2, and the platform, it shrinks it, it puts it into our take on what is a crossover, and . . . it’s almost hard to define what it is, but it so beautifully captures our brand and captures what we represent as a company,” Scaringe said during the event

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 and 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.

Image Credits: TechCrunch