Rivian has filed for the initial public offering (IPO). The electric vehicle maker, which is 12-year-old, which is funded by Amazon and seen as one of Tesla’s strongest competitors, is seeking an $80 billion value. Rivian would become one of the world’s most lucrative automakers, raking in billions more than GM or Ford, even though its vehicles have yet to see the road. Rivian’s first car, a $73,000 pickup truck, is set to go on sale in September, with a second vehicle, a $75,500 7-seat SUV, following next year.
Rivian’s timing is good in certain ways. President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order mandating that electric vehicles account for half of all new vehicle sales in the United States by the year 2030, and a rising number of legacy manufacturers have committed to switching to electric vehicle production over the next two decades.
Rivian, though, faces significant obstacles as the globe continues to grapple with the pandemic. The auto sector has been hampered by a shortage of semiconductors, which has resulted in delays and production halts. There is also a scarcity of charging stations around the United States, causing some potential EV customers to be concerned about running out of electricity.
Jeremy Michalek, a professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, informed Recode, “It’s a major issue that more public technology is available.” “The first goal should probably be to ensure that there are sufficient fast chargers available at highway rest stations so that you can drive your car wherever you would like to go.”
Rivian, like Tesla, sells home chargers and is building a country-wide charging network. By the end of 2023, the company hopes to have 10,000 stations operational, most of which will be in distant locations. Rivian, like Tesla, is focusing on artificial intelligence in its vehicles. Rivian has made a significant investment in its hands-free, semi-autonomous driving system, dubbed Driver+, which sounds a lot like Tesla’s Autopilot. Tesla even alleged Rivian of violating its trade secrets after employing its former employees, according to a complaint.
However, there is a significant difference between Tesla and Rivian in terms of the types of electric vehicles they sell. Rivian stated in 2018 that its initial models will be a pickup truck as well as an off-road SUV, after being established in 2009 and being a well-guarded secret for years. This is in striking contrast to Tesla, which has primarily focused on delivering cars and crossovers. (Tesla announced the Cybertruck, their first pickup truck, in the year 2019, but shipments have been postponed until 2022.)
Rivian is also courting business clients, including some of its powerful investors. After investing in two rounds of investment for Rivian, Amazon said last year that it would buy 100,000 electric delivery cars from the company by 2030. Former Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos as well as three other passengers on the Blue Origin’s first human-carrying trip even drove themselves to the launch site in a Rivian SUV.