Rivian Is Feeling Itself

The automaker's initial public offering on Wednesday is the biggest American IPO in years.

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Photo: Rivian

Rivian went public Wednesday, raising billions for its EV aspirations, after reviews of its R1T electric truck have come in, almost universally positive. Rivian executives even had the pleasure of ringing the bell to open trading of the Nasdaq today. For now, it’s all coming up Rivian.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Rivian raised $11.9 billion, on a valuation of over $77 billion, which is a lot of money but less than a tenth of Tesla’s $1 trillion valuation. Still, investors valued Rivian about the same as Ford, a Rivian investor whose stock has been up in recent days and, as of this writing, is valued at around $81 billion.

It feels, almost, like we are back in the heady days of when startups like Nikola went public with big valuations, except this time it feels slightly more sustainable.

The company also increased the size of the offering to 153 million shares from 135 million.

The funds raised will allow it to increase production and speed development of future vehicle models, said Rivian founder and Chief Executive Officer RJ Scaringe in an interview Tuesday.

“The IPO represents an opportunity to accelerate how quickly we can go,” Mr. Scaringe said, speaking from the company’s factory in Normal, Ill. “We have to go build a lot of vehicles.”

The money will aid Rivian in its efforts to establish a new manufacturing plant and secure battery supplies through partnerships and working on its own proprietary technology, Mr. Scaringe said.

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The R1T starts at $67,500, for those keeping tabs at home, and will compete with the Ford F-150 Lightning, the Tesla Cybertruck, the Bollinger B2, the electric Chevy Silverado, the Lordstown Endurance, and the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, or at least whenever those trucks get to market, if they ever do (looking at you, Lordstown Endurance). The Rivian R1T, meanwhile, is already here, with customers getting the first R1Ts in September, though Rivian also says that reservations for its “Launch Edition” R1T are full and that deliveries will begin in January 2022, meaning that you probably won’t be able to buy one off the shelf (if you want) for months.

Also, at least one auto publication sounded a note of caution about the R1T, with Edmunds calling it, “the least efficient EV we’ve ever tested,” if you care about things electricity consumption. My suspicion, however, is that customers largely won’t, focussing instead on range, which the EPA estimates is 314 miles for the R1T, which is plenty. I do wonder what the towing range is though. Either way, for now, for Rivian, it’s all systems go.