Rivian is having a moment today. Following the reveal of its more affordable R2 electric SUV, and the retro-modern R3 and R3X compact crossovers, the start-up’s shares soared 13%. InsideEVs’ Deputy Editor Mack Hogan was at the event in California this afternoon, and we have some additional information about the R2 and R3 from one of the company’s top executives.

For starters, the R2 will not get air suspension, according to Jeff Hammoud, the chief design officer at Rivian. Both the R1S and R1T get independent air suspension, allowing 6.5 inches of vertical travel. The lowest setting can be as low as 7.9 inches, and the ride height can increase to a maximum of 14.4 inches.

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Rivian's big moment

The California-based EV startup unveiled two new adventure-themed vehicles today, both more affordable than its current offerings. They won't go on sale until 2026 at the earliest, but when and if they do, they'll help Rivian reach the mass volume it needs to be a stable and long-term automaker.

Gallery: Rivian R2

Air suspension typically allows for improved handling, comfort, aerodynamics, and stability. It also enables self-leveling ride height, which balances for better handling when towing or carrying heavy loads.

Despite the omission, the R2 is expected to be “dynamically better” than the R1 models, Hammoud said. 

Dynamically better could mean several things—the R2 might have better handling and agility, or simply be a better on-road vehicle. In traditional terms, "dynamic" cars can absorb bumps and road imperfections effectively and keep the vehicle stable and responsive to the driver’s inputs. The R2’s smaller size and presumably lighter weight should also make it more “dynamic.”

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To be clear, we won’t know any of this for sure until the R2 comes out in 2026.

That said, the R2 and R3 seem built for outdoorsy owners. Both the EVs have separate ports above the trailer hitch for quickly mounting bike racks, storage boxes, and other items. The locking port sends power to the mounted accessory to run brake lights. You can store it in the frunk and take it on or off sans any tools.

The R2 also borrows some features from its bigger sibling. There’s a fold-out tray in the trunk to sit on. There will also be a camp kitchen available, but its design will be different from the original unit we saw on the R1T, according to Hammoud. He indicated that it will work with all Rivians, as well as other vehicles, so it will likely be a standalone external accessory and probably not something that sits flush behind the rear seats.

Are you thrilled by the upcoming Rivian models? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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