Rivian, the well-regarded, electric vehicle company, filed paperwork to go public last month. Many consider it to be the greatest threat to Tesla
An $80 billion valuation would make Rivian more valuable than nearly every other car company including legacy companies like Ford
In addition to Tesla's success, there are some positive catalysts for all EV makers including Rivian. President Joe Biden has prioritized the EV industry and wants it to account for half of all sales by 2030. He has also called or electrifying the federal fleet and encouraged state and local governments to do the same. Some also believe that electric pickup trucks could also gain traction if there are meaningful savings in fuel costs as these are mostly used for local purposes.
Of course, there are skeptics. For one, the company is going to have to attempt to ramp production at possibly the worst time given the tough labor market and shortage of semiconductors which is negatively impacting companies with established supply chains, relationships with vendors, and functioning production facilities. The launch of its flagship pickup truck also has already been related twice by these issues. Rivian will also have to build this from the ground up. Although Tesla has been able to successfully navigate this complex endeavor, it wasn't without some hiccups.
Another issue is that the company is fully electric, the availability of charging stations could also be an issue. During holidays, there have been anecdotal reports of long waits at charging stations as many cars can take upwards of 30 minutes to charge, leading to long lines. Until this infrastructure is built, there could be some constraints on Rivian's growth.
Currently, Rivian is looking to build 10,000 charging stations by 2023 which is similar to what Tesla did. Similar to Tesla, Rivian is also touting its AI and semi-autonomous driving features. There are many similarities between the two products, leading Tesla to file a lawsuit against Rivian as Rivian has hired numerous ex-Tesla employees.
Rivian is also appealing to commercial clients, including its own influential backers. After participating in two funding rounds for the startup, Amazon last year committed to buying 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian by 2030. Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and three other passengers on Blue Origin's first flight with humans aboard even rode in a Rivian SUV to the launch site.
Overall, Rivian seems quite interesting. However, an $80 billion valuation is quite steep for a company whose product has yet to be released. There's no guarantee that it can successfully scale production, and it's going to face competition as many automakers are releasing electric trucks and SUVs in the coming years.