Rivian might get billion-dollar investment from Amazon and GM

Discussion in 'Rivian' started by Domenick, Feb 12, 2019.

To remove this ad click here.

  1. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    From Wikipedia
    Rivian employed around 100 people at the end of 2016,[15][13] and that number had grown to 160 by August 2017.[13] Sumitomo Corporation made a “strategic investment” in Rivian in December 2017,[6][17][8] and Rivian reported that its alpha prototypes were complete and undergoing testing.[17] Also that month, Rivian revealed its first two products: an electric five-passenger pickup truck and an electric seven-passenger SUV,[8][6][12] provisionally named the A1T and AIC respectively.[18] With both vehicles unveiled at the LA Auto Show in November 2018,[12][9] production is scheduled to begin in 2020[6] with the truck to launch first.[8] Both vehicles were described as ready for rough terrain and semi-autonomous, and the company outlined a plan for its next generation of models to be fully autonomous.[9]

    Rivian had 250 employees at the start of 2018.[6] In May 2018, Rivian received $200 million in debt financing from Standard Chartered Bank,[12] bringing total raised funds upwards of $450 million.[8] Other investors at the time included Abdul Latif Jameel.[12][19] As of February 2019, Rivian employs 750 people[3] across facilities in Michigan, Illinois, California, and the United Kingdom. Around 50 of those employees were in Normal, putting Rivian ahead of its local job-creation targets.[20][6]

    The company currently has four primary locations. Headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan[26] are dedicated to finances, engineering, and design. A facility in Irvine, California focuses on batteries, electrical hardware, and vehicle control software, while a facility in San Jose, California develops self-driving technology and data.[1][6] The firm also has an engineering facility in the United Kingdom.[1] The 2.6-million-square-foot factory in Normal, Illinois[5][4][26] manufactures[1] vehicles components such as battery packs.[12] The Normal plant has a paint shop, robotics, stamping machines, and other production equipment[7][5] such as injection molding.[26]
  2. To remove this ad click here.

  3. Roland

    Roland Member

    I must say as an electric automotive enthusiast, the electric pickup truck is long overdue and should be a much easier vehicle to market. Americans love their pickup trucks. A friend just purchased a 2018 F150 crew cab 4x4, nothing special but a nice truck. It was well over $50k. That's not a heck of a lot less than the entry point of the Rivian. I think this is what American drivers have been waiting for. I've been driving a Volt around for the last year as a daily driver because it's so cheap to drive, but have stubbornly held on to my F250 Powerstroke pickup for big hauling jobs. The Rivian has made me start to look differently at my Powerstroke...maybe as a museum piece? It turned 20 this year.
    Personally I think Tesla would have been better off if they had focused early on a pickup instead of the Model S or Model 3. Their 2 seater sports car was necessary, if for no other reason than sending one into deep space toward Mars was a cool move.
    Charging infrastructure will be key to expanding the use of electric vehicles. Unless you own a Tesla, currently taking long trips in an all electric vehicle is a very difficult undertaking (even risky), especially across the midsection of America.
    ron in new mexico likes this.
  4. Tom SD

    Tom SD New Member

    jump to 8:30 of the gondola interview
  5. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I completely disagree. In 2012, when the Model S debuted, batteries were much more expensive than they are today. Rivian is planning on putting, what? 160-200 kWh worth of batteries in their cars? And the Model S debuted with two pack sizes: 60 kWh and 85 kWh. Imagine the cost (and therefore price) with more than twice as much battery capacity!

    Pickups are going to need a lot more battery capacity than sedans like the Model S or streamlined CUVs like the Model X.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    Robb Stark and Domenick like this.
  6. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    I agree with @Pushmi-Pullyu or rather disagree with the statement of @Roland . First, Tesla has both established a name brand and market share, befitting the first mover. Second they are much further down the learning curve then Rivian. Even if GM throws its resources in, scaling up in manufacturing takes time and effort. Third, Rivian is not going to have a product out until say mid 2020. If a F150 is going around $50K, I am sure that Rivian is not going to be cheaper and if anything they will try and take advantage of the tax incentives and it will around $55 to $60K. Pretty pricey.

    It gives Tesla ample time to come up with their own product. They have already made noises about that and Tesla usually plays it close the vest. I would not be surprised if they have a product in the market much before Rivian. When Tesla starts manufacturing it, they will have both economies of scale and scope. They have a charging network, they have a service network, they have a customer base, they have supply chain including batteries. So Rivian has their work cut out for them. Rivian needs to come out on time, needs to scale up fast so that they can drive down costs, they need to build the associated infrastructure. Yes, they have GM, Amazon and others they can turn to, but there are many things that have to fall into place. This is not to say they cannot compete with Tesla, it is going to take a lot of hard work. Finally, due to their current line of cars, Tesla is a lot more credible company. If you are business owner, would you want to wait for some time before you buy a Rivian and see how it built or go with a brand that has a history and reputation.
  7. To remove this ad click here.

  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I certainly want Rivian to succeed and hope it does, but I don't regard the prices it's quoting for the R1T and the R1S to be realistic. I'll be quite surprised if the floor price for those cars* don't rise significantly above $60k when the cars are actually offered for sale.

    *Yes, I know that they technically qualify as light trucks, but even a lot of pickup drivers I know call their vehicle a "car". So did I when I was driving a Toyota (pickup) Truck.

  9. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, they are in a tight corner. The higher they go, the more opportunity they present to others, especially Tesla and lower the demand. On the other hand they need to recover their fixed costs. It is a balancing act. The question is "Is there another viable player in town other than Tesla?" If there is, then the pressure on Rivian to come lower is immense. If there is not, they could get away with higher prices for a while.

    There seems to be other players but their plans seem vague. I just did a search and there is company called Bollinger Motors that say this will have a truck out in 2020 https://www.bollingermotors.com/#faqs. Now how many of the are real is the question. Rivian at least has big backers behind them and may have more staying power,

  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Not at all to disagree with any of that, but let's look at the situation from another perspective: Any startup auto maker only has to sell as many cars as it can make in at year, at the price they set on them. If a startup auto maker gets as far as actual production, then pretty much they only reason they fail quickly is if they can't even sell the limited number it makes, that it fails. Examples: CODA and Th!nk.

    Given all the positive comments and excitement expressed about Rivian, I think they can sell every one they make, even if the price is somewhere around $75k-90k for the first couple of years. Rivian can bring the price down over time, as improved manufacturing efficiency and amortizing away startup costs comes into play.

    But we'll see what happens. Heaven knows that just because I predict something doesn't necessarily mean it's going to come true!

    BTW --- Bollinger isn't aiming at the mass mass market. They are selling a class 3 heavy truck that only looks like an overgrown jeep. Bollinger is strictly a low-volume niche market manufacturer. I certainly hope they succeed, but let's not confuse Bollinger with a company that's aiming for the mass market, as Rivian is.

  11. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Couple of things. Can they sell a trucks at $75-90K? I guess they can but the question is how much. I will hazard a guess that there is not a large market for trucks at $90K.

    Second will competition given them two years to stabilize and get costs under control. They may have the supporters to keep them afloat for that period of time, but they need to try and get to high volumes faster.

    May be I am wrong, but I cannot see a niche manufacturer like Bollinger surviving for long as an independent entity. May be their strategy is to get their technology to a level of maturity and the sell out to a larger organization that can take it to the next level.
  12. To remove this ad click here.

  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I see an article on "The 11 Most Expensive Pickups" cites prices in the range of $57k-72k, but mentions the highest trim level for the most expensive pickup tops out at about $90k.

    I certainly agree that the market for a $90k pickup can't be all that large, but I have no idea how large it would need to be for Rivian to be able to sell 20,000 of them in a year. Obviously Rivian will have greater demand if the price is lower.

    Why? Tesla didn't expand its production to 40,000 the year after the Model S first went on sale. Why would Rivian need to grow that fast just to survive?

    A goal of 20,000 units in the first year of production, for a brand-new auto maker making a fairly large and complex car, is pretty ambitious. So is doubling that to 40,000 units in the second year. I'll be surprised if Rivian can actually achieve that. Not saying they should aim lower, because if they aim lower then the actual result will almost certainly be even less.

    Certainly possible. I don't know enough about the subject to form a definite opinion about the odds of Bollinger being acquired by a larger automotive manufacturer.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  14. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Yes, there are ICEs in that range but from what I saw, it looks like these are the V-8s with a lot of features, the big rugged ones with a lot of towing capability. Will Rivian compete in that market? Yes there will be the tax credit that might makes things better, however, I believe we are in agreement that lower the price the better

    Why? It is because of what is known in marketing as the combination of first mover advantage and incumbent inertia. Tesla was the first mover, so to speak and they had time on their hands as the then incumbents (GM, Ford...) did not move aggressively into the market, discounted it for whatever reason and had what is called "incumbent inertia". Tesla had time to make mistakes, to learn, and to grow. If GM had moved more aggressively on Volt and Bolt (or Nissan with the Leaf), the Tesla story may have been different. Rivian is the not the first mover in this market. They are against well trenched first mover who shows no sign of incumbent inertia and is much higher up on the learning curve. There are other known and unknown players trying to get into the market. The market will be a lot more crowded then before. Competitors will be less forgiving as will the market itself. The market has other products to compare with and a small mistake can be magnified. They are not going to be the only game in town.

    That said, sometimes it is advantageous to be a second mover. Anyone remember Atari, or Word Perfect or Netscape? Microsoft made it a strategy to be what is called a "fast follower". They would wait for the first mover to establish the market and then move quickly with a better product and use their immense advantages to take over the market. Can Rivian be a fast follower? I do not know enough about the management capability (which is vital) and their support structure to tell you that. But the operative word is "fast". I am talking based on marketing research, and there are always exceptions. Internet Explorer dethroned Netscape and ruled the roost for many years. They became slow moving and along came Google with Chrome. But it then took a very powerful company "Google" to take on "Microsoft". So possibly with Amazon and GM, Rivian has the power and time will tell. But I do not believe they have time on their side.
  15. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Not to argue with the point you've made here, but I will absolutely quibble about WordPerfect. It's still on the market, and I'm still using it. I'm on about my third version of the program now.

    MS Word started as an inferior look-and-feel clone of WordPerfect, and so far as I'm concerned, it still is. There are things that I can do with complex formatting in WordPerfect which are impossible in Word.

    And if I want an alternative, OpenOffice is free and works about as well as Word does. I use that when someone wants a Word document.

  16. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Tesla isn't close to selling its pickup. Rivian... well actually, I'll quibble that the R1T, with its extra-extra-short cargo bed is more properly an SUT than a real pickup, but people are calling it a pickup, and it's going to sell to the "urban cowboy" pickup market; the market for those who buy a pickup for its looks and "macho" image, rather than needing the utility of a pickup.

    Anyway, Rivian may well be the first auto maker in the era of the EV revolution (post-2007) to sell an EV which people will call a "pickup". I don't see Tesla getting their pickup into production within two years. And even if they do, so what? That's not going to kill the market for EV pickups, any more than the Chevy Bolt killed the market for the Tesla Model 3. There are scores of gasmobile pickups on the market; there are certainly room for several EV pickups, and eventually for about as many models of EV pickups as there are now gasmobile pickups.

    Go Rivian!

  17. Agree with a lot of your content. The current top of the line are certainly edging into teslas territory price wise. I see nothing that says a electric introduce PU will not be immediately in the mix on price.
    Amazon involved I think they may however direct it to their needs, which may not be the open market we just don't know.
    I would guess the best move would be a multiple use line up. Some thing for amazon, likely a F100 packages and such or a variant that provides secure storage a step van but really towing capacity and weight load about the same as a big car. And a top of the line heavy mover of things. Probably just there for show in the beginning to not have the brand stuffed into a corner...hah electric pick ups only good for little thing, type of thinking.
    I think people always think pick up it tows it carries a lot. Back in the day F100's R10, could haul hardly anything could tow hardly anything but everyone had them who worked doing things. It was just the open bed you need. A market still is there not really being filled except perhaps by Nissan and Toyota. Both with really not great designs. Easily competed with.
  18. Roland

    Roland Member

    ...and when I say I stubbornly hold on to my F250 Powerstroke for heavy hauling, I'm talking about a few bags of ready crete or a roll of chain link fence. I retired it from pulling a 14k lb. trailer several years back. The Rivian would serve very well for tasks like that and much much more. I started out with an F100 and advanced to the F150 after they began producing them. Later because of towing needs I went to the F250, but really only needed a truck that heavy duty for about 10 years. I just cannot see my driveway without a pickup truck in it. My wife is the same way. That's why I say the entry of the electric pickup is an industry game changer. The common everyday American wants a pickup truck in his driveway.
  19. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Yes WordPerfect is still alive, but has a minuscule market share compared to Office 365, G-Suite, OpenOffice. It is far from it hey day. However my bigger point is that a fast follower can overtake a first mover, but they have to be a fast follower, they do not have time on the side.

    Absolutely, the market will grow with more entrants. The trick is for Rivian to begin with a market niche that either Tesla does not cater and/or are not particularly found of Tesla. So Rivian needs to be different in someways and may be as you say they are. I would like more competition in the market and if Rivan is that, great. Else someone else will come along.
  20. I have one as well. I way overuse and abuse it putting a ton or so of gravel in a R10 which means it is way overloaded by about half a ton. Most American's don't even ever use any capacity nevertheless carrying around tons of gravel which I do on average every year. I would likely abuse a electric one in the same manner. Would I shell out to buy a top of the line Ford never. Do I really need all that capacity, not really, unless I used it for that about every month the money spent for top of the line makes no sense. Pickups can live with a little abuse. I have actually been waiting for electric in this for years. Likely I will have to wait for used as it is not my first ride and I simply don't want to spend that much on a thing that in the main is parked. I expect you and I are not alone in this at all. The market is there by my read.
    It makes a lot of sense. I don't take long trips in my pickup. How better to have electric 200 even 100 range is a whole day running around back and forth to lowes and home depot moving stuff. Works out perfectly.
    The industry, say you rent out a truck to do things, or you have a pro contractor fleet to run you electric repair plumbing shop, it just makes more sense way cheaper than gas, less maintance as well.Initial cost will be the obstruction to adoption.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
    Roland likes this.
  21. Roland

    Roland Member

    That's why I'm excited to see electric pickups on the horizon. I quit buying new vehicles when I retired 10 years ago. No way I'm paying even 50k on a pickup truck. I've found that 3 year old vehicles still have their warranty and are 50% cheaper than new. I figure by 2025 I'll have myself one of those used Rivians or something like it in my driveway. By then you will be more likely to get stuck behind me on my old logging road while I finish my ice cream cone, than see me abusing my pickup truck. I'll be able to sneak up on the neighborhood deer herd that hangs around the road, like I can in my Volt.
  22. I do buy new, just did, but a pick up I never buy new. Makes no sense to me for a vehicle that generally sits around to pay that sort of price. Funny that the sneaking up on deer. The game wardens will have to put a whole nother look at this thing of spotlighting ;)
    I plan to do exactly what you describe. If only I can make my R10 last that long. New battery I need now but really it never stops, one thing or other.
    Roland likes this.
  23. Roland

    Roland Member

    If cars built today were worn out by the time they had 100,000 miles on them like the cars of the 60s, then buying new would still be important to me. But today's cars are just getting broke in at 100k. Before I retired I was driving 50k miles a year on the average. Now I only drive about 10,000 miles a year combined between the 2, so both of my vehicles sit in the driveway most of the time. My pickup has about 250,000 miles on it and should easily be good for 500,000 more. That should get me well into the 22nd century at 3k miles a year or the next person to get my truck will get a really nice museum piece from the last century! The other vehicle (Chevy Volt right now) does the other 7500 miles. Pretty hard for me to justify too much money sitting out in my driveway, just for 10k miles a year worth of driving. Leasing is actually beginning to look kind of attractive to me. In the past, mileage restrictions have always kept me from doing a lease. Mileage is no longer an issue for me. My truck tires get replaced every 5 years now due to dry rot, instead of tread wear. I'll probably never have to do the brakes on the Chevy Volt since I use "L" exclusively and hardly touch the brakes to slow down. My '14 doesn't have the regen paddles, so it isn't one foot driving, but pretty close for this old lead foot from the 60s muscle cars. The used car market is a much different place than it was in decades past. In the past if you bought a car with 40,000 miles on it, you could plan on major engine trouble from the day you drove it off the lot. ICE engines today are easily good for 300,000 miles. I expect an electric platform to be comparable. That leaves a bunch of very usable and trouble free miles in the middle for the discerning used car buyer. Old people with brand new cars sitting in their driveway die everyday...leaving some really nice gently used cars to choose from.
    Now days, if I buy a 3 year old EV or PHEV with an 8 year battery warranty, it's still under full warranty. If I trade it every 3 years, it's still under full warranty when the next driver gets it. That's a long way from the used market even 20 years ago when my F250 was built. Remember when the 12k mile/12 month warranty hit the new car market, like that was a great deal? I doubt the engine in my Volt will ever wear out, only using 40 gallons of gasoline a year like I have averaged so far. Once a year, I have the oil changed and tires get a little air a couple of times a year. That's about it for ongoing maintenance. No fiddling with air mix screws on the carburetor, or choke cable issues. Now I sit in my easy chair and pre-warm my seats and condition the cabin environment from my smart phone, before ever walking out to the driveway.

Share This Page