Rivian’s R1T gets it r1ght in America
Maker of best-selling R1T to produce next-gen electric truck at $5 billion Georgia factory
Rivian Automotive plans to raise up to $15 billion in debt to through state and local government for an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in the US state of Georgia.
The bonds will be issued by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and a municipal agency representing four counties to fund the project and related services and infrastructure, and to provide California-based Rivian with tax and other incentives worth $1.5 billion.
Rivian has agreed to purchase the taxable bonds as they are issued and has committed to spending at least $5 billion on the new factory. Rivian issued a $1.5 billion so-called green bond last month. In the September quarter Rivian suffered a net loss of $1.7 billion, but the company can still call on nearly $5 billion in cash and equivalents.
Rivian’s Georgia plant was first mooted in December 2021 with nameplate capacity of 400,000 vehicles a year and production slated to start in 2024. Commercialization has now been pushed out to 2026 with construction starting early next year.
The factory will produce Rivian’s next generation R2 models, which the company said would be smaller but at a much lower price point than the current R1T pick-up and R1S SUV which retail in the $70,000 range in the US.
R1T, F-150 brace for Cybertruck
According to the Adamas Intelligence EV Battery Capacity and Battery Metals Tracker, the vehicles Rivian churns out at its Illinois facility have captured more than 5% of the market in the Americas based on battery capacity (GWh) deployed onto roads from January through September of this year.
The nearly 35,000 units, including delivery vehicles for Amazon, the company has moved this year sport a combined battery capacity just shy of 4.5GWh, up a whopping 166% compared to the same months last year and already way ahead of the 2022 calendar total.
Adamas data is based on vehicles delivered to customers, not wholesale markets or EVs collecting dust at dealerships, to yield the most commercially relevant analysis.
Towards that end, the Rivian R1T pick-up is the fifth most popular passenger EV in the US this year to date by battery capacity deployed, and the R1S is number eight. September was a record month for both models.
By comparison, new R1T owners put over 200 MWh more battery power onto roads (and trails) this year so far than buyers of the Ford F-150 Lightning. The gasoline-version of the F-150 has been the overall best-selling passenger vehicle in the US for decades but in the case of the electrified variant, it’s been all storms and little lightning for Ford this year.
Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe told a conference in September that he does not see much of an overlap between customers of the R1T and Tesla’s Cybertruck, which is starting deliveries this month.
Whether the comments were spun to assuage investors or a true reflection of the electric pick up market’s nuance will become clearer in the coming months. Should Ford be able to shock the F-150 Lightning back into play, 2024 will a be a monster electric truck showdown.
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