Electric vehicle startup Rivian goes public

FILE – This image shows a Rivian R1T at Rivian headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan, on November 14, 2018. Photo: AP via RSS

SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND: Shares in Rivian Automotive are set to trade publicly on Wednesday, and the world should get a better idea of just how hot investors are for the electric vehicle market.

Rivian, the EV startup backed by Amazon and Ford, raised at least $10.5 billion in its public offering to help it ramp up production of its trucks, vans and SUVs. It’s the latest in what’s becoming a long line of companies trying to carve out some of Tesla’s dominant market share.

The offering of 135 million shares was priced at $78 per share, according to The Wall Street Journal, giving Rivian a market value of $77 billion on a fully diluted basis. That compares to Honda’s $53 billion and Ford’s $80 billion.

Automakers big and small, new and old, are chasing Tesla, which has largely dominated the electric vehicle market for years, amassing a market value of more than $1 trillion along the way. So far this year, Tesla has sold around 627,300 vehicles.

Craig Irwin, an analyst who covers electric vehicle and EV charging companies for Roth Capital, says that even with more companies entering the EV market, there is still plenty of room for newcomers.

“EVs are inevitable, and it’s a good thing for the markets to have another credible EV competitor come public,” Roth said. “Rivian’s IPO marks a point of incremental maturation for the industry, and shows that billions in capital is available for credible players.”

Rivian has a contract with Amazon to to build 100,000 electric delivery vans at its factory, a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois. Amazon.com Inc. owns about 20 per cent of Rivian before accounting for the public offering.

Ford Motor Co. invested a half-billion dollars into Rivian in 2019 and said the companies would work jointly to develop electric vehicles. The Detroit automaker has about a 13 per cent stake in Rivian leading up to the public offering.

As of Oct. 31, Rivian had about 55,400 vehicle preorders in the US and Canada. Those orders are placed with a $1,000 deposit that can be cancelled and refunded.

Rivian rolled out its first vehicle, the R1T electric truck in September and will launch its electric SUV, the R1S in December. Prices for the truck start at $63,000, while the SUV base package starts at $74,000 and approaches six figures with all the add-ons.

Options for the vehicles include a $10,000 battery upgrade that will extend the driving range from 314 miles (505 kilometres) to more than 400 miles (643 kilometres). A three-person roof-mounted tent adds $2,650 to the bill and an off-road recovery kit will cost an additional $600.

The research firm LMC Automotive says that in 2020, EVs made up about a little more than 3 per cent of the global auto market and less than 2 per cent of the US auto market. The group projects those numbers to shoot up to about 15 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, by 2025.

Rivian, which was founded in 2009, says it lost $426 million in 2019 and $1 billion last year. Tesla, which went public in 2010, recorded its first annual profit last year.

Source: AP/RSS


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