Rivian Automotive Inc, purveyor of the all-electric R1T and R1S, will receive $1.5 billion in incentives from state and local governments to build a new manufacturing facility in Georgia. Eager to become home to the company’s planned $5 billion assembly plant, the state is offering a comprehensive incentive package that includes tax breaks. The government has a few stipulations, however.
Under the new agreement, Rivian’s factory would be required to produce 7,500 jobs and its existing investment target by 2028 to receive the full $1.5 billion. That includes a sizable battery production site and may explain why the state is offering up the largest corporate incentivization package in its history.
With window stickers of Ford’s all-electric Lightning pickup having leaked late last week, there were a lot of people interested in having their “Fuel Economy and Environment” estimates verified. Ford CEO Jim Farley has obliged by confirming the figures, adding that the vehicle’s maximum range should ballpark around 300 miles (or better) unless you snub the extended-range models.
The executive confirmed the F-150 Lightning XLT, Lariat, and Pro trims at 320 miles with the bigger battery. Though those running with the standard battery pack only yield 230 miles between charging. Meanwhile, the Lightning Platinum tops out at 300 miles even due to it having gnarly tires and being less aerodynamic than its siblings.
On Tuesday, Rivian announced it would be increasing vehicle pricing by roughly 20 percent to account for higher inflationary pressures and higher component costs. It’s not the first electric vehicle startup to do so, or even the first automotive business that realized the hectic economic situation has created a window for expanding profit margins. But it was one of the few to get slapped in the face, metaphorically, after trying to get away with it.
Shares of the company began plummeting almost immediately as it endured widespread criticism, then people started canceling reservations. The plan would have made the $67,500 Rivian R1T electric pickup an $80,000 vehicle, while Rivian would have tacked on an additional $10,000 to the R1S SUV for a new ballpark total of $85,000. This included preorders, which would help to explain why everyone went bananas. But that particular aspect of the plan has been abandoned in an effort to save face and money.
Fresh off its megabucks IPO in which the company’s fortunes skyrocketed like your author’s blood pressure after a meal of fried foods, rumors are floating that Rivian is planning another factory. Suggested as being located in Georgia, it would play partner to the existing facility in Illinois.
While no one around this neck of the woods would call themselves experts in finer points of the stock market, we do know how to add. Talking heads at the Wall Street Journal are reporting Rivian has set an initial share price of $78 for its IPO, a heady sum to be sure. What drives this story to another dimension is they’ve allegedly sold 153 million shares at this price.
For those keeping track, that means they raised nearly $12 billion – making RIVN the biggest listing so far in 2021.
Despite EV startups taking a lot of flak for habitually overpromising, sometimes on a level that approaches criminal fraud, things appear to be going rather well at the Rivian factory. Founder and CEO Robert Joseph “RJ” Scaringe announced that the company started building its very first production units on Tuesday.
With the necessary regulatory certifications in hand, Rivian can now begin delivering vehicles directly to customers and the timing couldn’t be much better. The electric brand had said it was basically done with prototypes and ready to spin up the assembly lines for the final product late last month. While this still placed it a bit behind schedule, the company now says it has all the necessary certifications from the relevant regulatory agencies (NHTSA, EPA, CARB, etc.) and an automobile that’s been federally approved for sale.
Electric-truck startup Rivian has signed the lease for its first showroom in New York City and has selected one of the trendiest spots in Brooklyn. Once known for its high crime rate, Williamsburg has undergone three decades of gentrification and is now awash with luxury retailers normally reserved for the swankiest parts of Manhattan. In the 1990s, the neighborhood was still rough around the edges but had started to become ground zero for the East Coast hipsters, starving artists, and young musicians who gradually influenced its trajectory. The next three decades saw Williamsburg moving steadily upward with rental prices keeping pace. Riverside warehouses were replaced with high-rise hotels, the average household income closed on six figures, and dog parks are situated conveniently near designer ice cream shops.
It’s now the perfect place for a showroom dedicated entirely to electric vehicles, especially one that seems like a merger between Tesla Motors and REI.
Rivian Automotive is seeking to go public in the fall and targeting a valuation of at least $50 billion, according to the latest reports. The all-electric startup company, supported by Amazon and the Ford Motor Company, has already amassed around $8 million from investors and was valued at $27.6 billion less than a month ago.
While we couldn’t possibly say what it’s actually worth, burgeoning EV manufacturers have performed incredibly well on the stock market lately. Rivian would almost assuredly see its valuation balloon to the targeted sum through an initial public offering. It already has a product line, 3,600 employees spread between the Midwest and California, some serious marketing under its belt, and a relatively strong relationship with a few of the world’s largest companies. We’ve seen more done with far less on Wall Street.
Electric-vehicle manufacturers often tout their products’ ability to double as a mobile generator for laborers needing a place to plug in their tools. But a few have also suggested a reliable power source would be similarly beneficial for recreational actives. In 2019, Rivian began showcasing the camp kitchen its designers had made fit into the gear tunnel located between the R1T’s truck bed and passenger cabin. Easily deployed, the kitchen comes with an electric stovetop, electric kettle, small sink (fed by a five-gallon water tank), and enough storage space to house the items necessary to cook and serve a meal.
It was looking like an incredibly slick option for woodsy weekend warriors — until we learned the price, that is.
Over the last few months, the automotive industry has been feeding the media a steady stream of materials about how great electric vehicles are. Your author even spent an hour last week on a press call where a famous German automaker attempted to educate us on how to use the cost of ownership over 10 years to help readers rationalize buying them over something requiring gasoline. While that should stay something about how the industry sees our relationship, it also seems to indicate it’s preparing an EV offensive in North America or has next to nothing up its sleeve for the remainder of 2020.
Of course, these are the legacy manufacturers we’re discussing, EV startups walk a slightly different path. Awash with more investment funding that seems reasonable, they’re in the midst of setting up factories so they can begin production of largely hypothetical products. There are also logistical questions that need handling, including figuring out who will be fixing EVs when nobody seems interesting selling them using the dealership model.
Over the weekend, Rivian explained how it planned on handling repairs. Though, if you thought it would be more complicated than copying a page from the Tesla playbook, you’re going to be disappointed.
Details of the upcoming Rivian R1T and R1S electric vehicles leaked just hours ahead of the company sharing some equipment options for the various trims and announcing that the online configurations (allowing you to build your own) will launch on November 16th.
As of now, Rivian’s plan involves offering identical trims for the R1T pickup and R1S SUV — splitting the two body styles into Adventure and Explorer packages. While the former is a bit more upscale, both come with a panoramic roof, vegan upholstery, and are big on connectivity. Wi-Fi is embedded and allows for Rivian to issue over-the-air updates. There’s also the First Edition model, which is effectively a gussied up version of the Adventure going to true believers that booked their EVs well in advance.
Following reports that Rivian might decide to move a large portion of its operations out of Michigan, news has reached us that it’s all but abandoning the Mitten State for sunny California.
Starting its life as Avera Motors in Florida back in 2009, the EV startup moved to Plymouth, Michigan in 2015 to poach talent from the Big Three and lay down some roots. However, the company doesn’t appear to have wormed its way into the soil all that deeply. It now plans to move a sizable portion of its operations to Irvine, California, with some employees heading to its plant in Normal, Illinois, to prepare for production.
This has got to be a slap in the face for some Michigan residents, since many were instrumental in the development of Rivian’s first models. The business fired a gaggle of people at its engineering and design center near Detroit at the start of June, only to slot in a couple of high-paid executives. Now it’s starting to look like it may pull up stakes and skip town.
Despite offering a choice of battery sizes, Rivian’s R1T pickup, scheduled for production late this year, was not revealed under a banner of affordable green motoring. Nor was the R1S SUV that followed it. The Michigan-based startup’s first vehicles instead wowed onlookers with their tech prowess and capability — four hub motors, an innovative platform, and a maximum range of 400 miles — and prices that were fairly comparable with existing high-zoot pickups and SUVs.
Carrying a starting price of $69,000 at its debut, the R1T is now said to be in line for a price drop. Same goes for the R1S.