A Nice Looking Electric Car

Up close with the Rivian R2: Even better in-person [Gallery]
Rivian brought its brand new R2 electric SUV to Austin, Texas this week for one of its first public show…

I casually mentioned in the newsletter last week that the thing that has always turned me off from buying a Tesla was the build quality – particularly of the interior.1 I've been in dozens (hundreds, thanks to Uber?) of Teslas, and have even gone so far as to test-drive one at a dealership years ago, I always come away with the same feeling: electric is awesome and unquestionably where this is all going quickly, but my god this thing feels tacked-together. Everything I've seen from Rivian, from the R1 to now the R2 and R3, looks to be the opposite. And these pictures would seem to confirm that.

Very impressed with the interior. Even though I couldn’t touch it, it certainly looked more luxurious and has more character than my Model Y. The materials aren’t as nice as the R1T/R1S, but that’s to be expected given the price differences.

Not being able to touch it is a large caveat of course, since "feel" is an important aspect of "look and feel", but still, the "look" here is compelling enough. Teslas, to me, are too minimal in their design aesthetic. Rivian actually makes decisions. You may not agree, but you're also not going to be left feeling like you're driving a generic car.2

Of course, the trade-off here is that it may be incredibly hard for Rivian to continue to scale. Some early Tesla quality issues were clearly directly related to trying to keep up with demand. And the R2 machines aren't even shipping until 2026. Still, this all just looks great. Add in CarPlay – we get it, but come on, Rivian – and I'm sold.3

1 Plenty of points about the build quality of the exterior though as well -- at times it has just been so bespoke that it was a crapshoot if yours looked good or like, well, this.

2 To which you may point to the Cybertruck as a counterpoint. Well, it's certainly a look. I personally find it comically ugly. Like a joke that went too far. And yet still, in a way, almost un-designed! Like a block of steel that hasn't been molded. Or something you might have found in the Super Nintendo version of Star Fox in 1993.

3 Perhaps with Apple now formally out of the car business, they'll attempt to forge even deeper partnerships with car makers. Rivian would sure seem like a great one to do that with...