Electric vehicles

A look under Rivian’s hood ahead of its expected $80 billion IPO

The electric truck startup just revealed key financials ahead of an expected blockbuster IPO
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· 3 min read

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Unlike other SPAC-happy EV startups, Rivian is going public the old-fashioned way: IPO.

The company released its S-1 document last Friday, giving the public a peek under the hood ahead of its IPO, reportedly set for late November.

Why it matters: The company was the first to deliver an electric truck to consumers, with its initial customer-bound R1T models rolling off the production line at its Normal, Illinois, factory just last month. Ford plans to deliver its first F-150 Lightning to customers in spring 2022, and Tesla’s Cybertruck production timeline has been pushed back to late 2022.

Rivian is also expected to seek a valuation of approximately $80 billion, which would make it among the largest IPOs in America over the last decade.

By the numbers...

As of last month, Rivian had about 48,390 preorders for its R1T pickup trucks and R1S SUVs in the US and Canada, according to its S-1. For context, Ford said it had about 150,000 reservations for the F-150 Lightning as of September, and Tesla reportedly has more than 1 million reservations for the Cybertruck.

  • FWIW, preorders don’t always translate into sales.

The company has also raised about $10.5 billion since 2019, but it reported a loss of more than $1 billion last year, and has already lost $994 million in the first six months of 2021.

  • Rivian’s R&D expenses, which go toward things like developing next generation EVs, were $683 million in the first half of this year, compared with $766 million in all of 2020. Rivian expects those costs to continue to rise.
  • The startup plans to spend about $8 billion on capital expenditures through the end of 2023 as it increases manufacturing capacity, takes on in-house battery-cell production, builds out charging networks and invests in service operations, retail and software development.

Corporate consorts: Rivian’s backers have the funds to provide financial support for the many years it takes automakers to reach profitability.

Amazon is both a Rivian investor and customer. The company owns at least 5% of the EV startup and has agreed to buy 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian over the next decade.

Ford is both a Rivian investor...and perhaps the company’s largest competitor. The Detroit-based automaker also owns more than 5% of the startup, but its F-150 Lightning—the all-electric version of America’s best-selling truck (and vehicle)—is expected to eat up market share for electric trucks when it becomes available to customers next spring. Ford is doubling production capacity for its electric truck, announcing last month that it would invest $250 million to hire 450 additional workers.

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