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Rivian’s stock rises on day one amid latent electric vehicle maker controversies

Rivian shares hit the market today, and it’s already proving to be a big hit for rival electric vehicle maker Tesla despite ongoing questions about production and more. The company – which started shipping a relatively small number of its all-electric R1T pickup truck recently and plans to do the same with its R1S SUV in 2022 – had valued its RIVN shares at $ 78 before their Nasdaq debut, but they opened. at almost $ 107 each.

At the time of publication, the price had risen and then fallen, peaking at a point of nearly $ 120 each. In the process, this pushed Rivian’s valuation beyond that of auto industry mainstays like Ford and General Motors.

Ford, however, probably won’t be entirely upset about it. After all, the automaker has a 12% stake in Rivian, alongside Amazon with a 20% stake. The startup’s backers had helped propel its pre-IPO increase to more than $ 10 billion in total since 2019.

According to Rivian’s pre-IPO disclosures, it has nearly 50,000 consumer vehicle pre-orders so far. However, the R1T – which we drove in September – and the upcoming R1S are only part of its story. Rivian’s huge deal with Amazon is arguably bigger, with the retail giant ordering 100,000 custom electric delivery vehicles for delivery by 2030.

Recently, Rivian confirmed that he will also be opening the order books of other companies looking for professional electric vehicles.

While the exceptions for Rivian’s stock were high, the automaker didn’t have an entirely easy run. Multiple controversies have arisen in recent years, including several delays in the launch of the R1T and R1S. Initially, the plan was to sell electric vehicles by the end of 2020, but various constraints – notably the global semiconductor crisis – helped push that back by about 12 months.

More worrying were the recent allegations of discrimination within the company. Whistleblower Laura Schwab accused Rivian of “toxic brotherhood culture” and claimed – in a blog post as well as a lawsuit against the automaker – that she was fired from her position as vice president of sales and marketing for voicing those complaints. Rivian, though low-key during the run-up to the IPO of the charges, has long touted himself as a more thoughtful and modern automaker than some of the more traditional brands, with a focus on a broader view of sustainability.

The allegations do not appear to have dampened the market’s appetite for Rivian shares, although even with a high valuation the backed startup faces tough years. For starters, he needs to increase production of R1T and R1S in order to start adding significant profits to his balance sheet. So far, this has seen a lot of expense and very little income from actual electric vehicles.

To make this process more difficult, some familiar names are looming large in the category of electric trucks. Ironically, the support of Rivian Ford looks set to make arguably the biggest splash out there: the 2022 F-150 Lightning, the first all-electric model in the legendary F-Series, will begin shipping in spring 2022. Ford has some. already over 160,000. reservations for the truck, which starts at around $ 40,000 in the retail version.

Even with Ford increasing its production targets, its target of 80,000 F-150 Lightning built each year would still be below initial demand – despite Rivian’s R1T and R1S production capabilities at this time. While Rivian said he expects to eventually be able to build up to 150,000 electric vehicles each year at his Illinois plant, only 65,000 of those would be consumer vehicles like his pickup and his SUV. The rest would be delivery vehicles like the ones he’s building for Amazon.

Meanwhile, several other top contenders are waiting backstage. Chevrolet has confirmed that there will be all-electric Silverado trucks on GM’s Ultium platform, and Ram is preparing an all-electric version of the Ram 1500. Tesla’s Cybertruck sits fairly on hundreds of thousands of reservations, although ‘It remains to be seen when, exactly, production electric vehicles will actually arrive with future owners.

Yet with Rivian’s roadmap fixing the backlog of reservations until the end of 2023 to satisfy him, his rivals have plenty of time to make their own splash.