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Rivian CEO on growth, Amazon vans, SPAC bubble and lower-priced EVs


Rivian CEO RJ scaringe at the plant in Normal (Ill.) April 11, 2022

Michael Wayland/CNBC

NORMAL, Ill. – Rivian AutomotiveRobert Scaringe, CEO, hops from an R1T pickup of automaker R1T outside the plant in central Illinois, as a man shouts “RJ! RJ!”

Scaringe uses those initials and turns to the man who thanked him for working at Rivian’s large plant. Before heading to a meeting with suppliers, the 39-year old founder of the company reciprocates his appreciation by offering a handshake.

It was only one of several acknowledgements from employees during Scaringe’s recent visit to the facility with media representatives and Scaringe. Scaringe has a daily office inside the old Mitsubishi Motors facility.

These are not only pleasantries but they also show confidence in the CEO despite the daunting challenges facing the electric vehicle manufacturer.

Wall Street also praised Scaringe for founding the company and bringing it to public attention through a public offering in 2009. blockbuster IPO in November. Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas referred specifically to Rivian in his title as “the one” that can challenge the EV industry leader Tesla.

Electric Rivian R1T pickup trucks will be produced at the plant of the company in Normal, Ill.

Michael Wayland/CNBC

Rivian is, however, facing huge supply disruptions. Rivian has internal experienced the expected but still difficult production problems that have caused the industry to suffer. miss its production expectationsLast year.

This year’s drop in stock prices is more than 60%. Investors seek safer ground than an electric vehicle start-up because of fears about recession.

Scaringe acknowledges these issues but, just like he has done for over a decade now, is focused on the task at hand. To prove Rivian’s value by producing actual vehicles. Rivian was an industry differentiator that distinguishes Rivian and the influx of new EV startups in recent years. Rivian produces both the electric R1T pickups and Amazon delivery vans.

Scaringe has some words to share about the company’s production and shortages of parts.

Disruptions in production and suppliers

Scaringe stated that Rivian is “really optimistic” it will produce at least 25,000 vehicles by 2022, which includes van models and R1-models. The estimate is now down from initial expectations of about 50,000Supplier disruptions cause vehicles to be cut.

The biggest obstacle for the company is the scarcity of semiconductor chips. This shortage has plagued the automotive industry for over a year. Wire harnesses are the vehicle’s nerves. They are essential components of vehicles.

Electric Rivian R1T pickup trucks will be produced at the plant of the company in Normal, Ill.

Michael Wayland/CNBC

Scaringe stated that the vast majority of vehicles are not subject to supply chain restrictions. Scaringe explained that this is a very small fraction. It doesn’t require more than one piece to stop production.”

Scaringe isn’t expecting semiconductor supplies to stabilize until next year. Along with all other executives in the industry, Scaringe is constantly in touch with suppliers in an effort to source, make, and ship as much as possible.

Rivian has some employees who are on-site at suppliers’ facilities to help with production.

“We do not have any demand challenges.” There is a challenge to ‘can you make enough vehicles?’ Following a tour through the vehicle plant, he said to CNBC. He said, “We have an issue with the supply chain. We’re going through it.

Amazon delivery vans

Rivian’s Normal plant, Ill. will begin production of electric Amazon delivery vehicles on April 11, 2022.

Michael Wayland/CNBC

Rivian states that the vans are faster to produce than R1T/R1S cars because they contain fewer features. They are also subject to fewer procedures at the plant. For example, the painting of the vans – a tedious and long process – takes two hours less than paint jobs for the other vehicles.

Victor Taylor, senior director of stamping, body & plastic for the company, also noted there’s less complexity and time needed for the vans in the body shop.

Electric Vehicles at a Lower Price

Rivian increased the prices of its vehicles in March due to rising commodity costs, much to the dismay and disappointment of reservation holders. It quickly became a success. rolled back the increasesfor the 70,000+ reservation holders. However, it said it would keep to the updated pricing for all new reservations that were made after March 1.

The R1T’s starting price is $67500, while the R1S starts at $72,500. These prices make both vehicles more expensive than the mainstream model.

Rivian’s Normal plant, Ill. will begin production of electric Amazon delivery vehicles on April 11, 2022.

Michael Wayland/CNBC

Scaringe indicated that company intends to make lower-priced vehicles with its next generation EV platform. These vehicles will be manufactured at a scheduled $5 billion plant in GeorgiaThe upcoming launch of the e-commerce platform is anticipated to take place in 2024.

Scaringe reports that Rivian intends to make profits as well as improve the performance of existing models much like other automakers.

Gas-powered cars are dead

It’s the beginning of the end of fossil fuel-powered consumer vehicles — as far as Scaringe is concerned. According to Scaringe, the production and sale of these vehicles will cease in his lifetime.

Scaringe did not give a precise date, but said that the end of this era will be closer to 20 years than 50. Companies are forced to abandon fossil fuels due to necessity and regulatory pressures.

“Most countries in the world are going to stop selling cars powered by gas engines.” He said that it was difficult to grasp the magnitude of this shift. It is up to policy whether the shift can be driven. Only businesses who recognize the zero end-state for combustion will survive.

Rivian CEO RJ Fearinge at the company’s customer service center located outside its Normal, Ill plant.

Michael Wayland/CNBC


Rivian, like many other EV startup founders in the past few years has gone public. However, Rivian’s competition have also done this through acquisitions. special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs.Rivian was able to offer a more traditional, but also direct, initial public offering.

Numerous companies who chose the SPAC route faced difficulties. financial problemsU.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has received inquires from the Commission about any of their business deals or other matters.

Scaringe is certain that some of these companies will not be Rivian’s competitors for long.

He stated that the shift in financial markets from being a growth-oriented to more value-oriented, meant that many of these underfinanced SPACs or companies will slowly disappear. “They will run out capital.”

Electric Rivian R1T pickup trucks will be produced at the plant of the company in Normal, Ill.

Michael Wayland/CNBC

Autonomous vehicles purpose-built for a specific purpose?

Tesla CEO Elon MuskRecently, the automaker said it would create a dedicated robotaxi. He did not give any details or a timeline, other than to say it would be “futuristic” and completely self-driving. This is something that has been lacking despite being called the car company. “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) driver-assist feature.

Rivian did not announce plans to create a similar vehicle and Scaringe declined to comment directly on the possibility of a rival. However, he stated that they will offer “many different products” in the future.

Scaringe moved from Southern California, to be near the plant’s 3.3 million square feet. He is known for being a determined, well-informed planner. His actions often speak louder than his tweets or words. This is a very different approach to Musk. However, they are both highly detail-oriented leaders.

EV Pickups

Rivian was the first automaker in mass-producing an automobile. all-electric pickup truckLast year, Tesla beat long-standing segment leaders and beating Tesla to the market General MotorsAnd Ford MotorRivian is held by, with a roughly 12 percent stake.

GM began shipping its products in 1994. GMC Hummer EV pickupIn December of 2011, months after Rivian’s launch of the R1T, Ford began shipping an electric version. Ford will soon ship an electric version its R1T, according to reports. F-150 pickupThis was the F-150 Lightning. It was then followed by Tesla’s much-delayed CybertruckThe product is expected to enter production in the next year.

Electric Rivian R1T pickup trucks will be produced at the plant of the company in Normal, Ill.

Michael Wayland/CNBC

Scaringe hasn’t been bothered by comparisons between the Rivian R1T and other electric pickups. Scaringe actually likes it for the time being. He thinks there’s enough demand right now to support EV pickup production for the short-term.

He said that humans are obsessed with winning and losing, as if everything is a zero-sum sport. I don’t think it can be that simple. … It’s like Hummer being wildly successful. It’s true. Lightning will be wildly successful and we’ll be wildly successful. All three are possible from an intellectual honesty standpoint.