VSARMAMENT IS strongly divided between the old and the new. Recent electric vehicle (VE) entrants, with Tesla at the forefront, command effervescent ratings largely based on being new and different. Stock prices of established automakers suggest they are going to close their doors soon. Yet many of the former will likely fail and most of the latter will survive. Rivian, one of the newcomers, filed documents for an initial public offering on August 27 and is reportedly seeking a valuation of at least $ 70 billion, roughly the same as General Motors. Do his plans match the excitement?
At first glance, it appears as one of the most promising VE startups may seem justified. Rivian has raised more than $ 8 billion from an impressive list of funders, including Amazon and Ford. The e-commerce giant has ordered 100,000 electric vans, the first 10,000 of which are expected to hit the road in 2022. Rivian is looking for a location for another plant that, along with its plant in Illinois, could produce 300,000 vehicles per year.
Commercial VEEmissions have been in high demand as e-commerce flourishes, fueled by the pandemic, and cities around the world impose increasingly stringent emissions rules. Rivian’s skateboard frame, on which a “top hat” of any body style can be placed, allows him to easily customize delivery vehicles to specific customer needs. It will also support the next pickup and SUV and could also be sold to other car manufacturers.
But established companies, which make big profit margins on pickup trucks, won’t give up their market lightly. Moreover, Rivian is not the only newcomer: America’s Canoo and Britain’s Arrival are also entering the VE pickup truck game. Canoo and REE, an Israeli startup, are among the many VE skateboards. A battery-powered version of the popular Ford F-150 pickup — the F-series is the source of most of its profits – will go on sale next year and DG has similar plans for the Chevrolet Silverado in 2023. Rivian has joined a company in which the struggle for survival has never been so brutal. ■
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This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Can It Deliver?” “