Rivian Opens Pre-Orders for Its Vehicles, Can You Buy the Stock?

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author

Feb. 10 2021, Updated 5:43 a.m. ET

Electric vehicle startup Rivian has opened pre-orders for its upcoming electric SUV and pickup. Rivian has priced the launch version of the R1S SUV at $77,500, while the R1T pickup has been priced at $75,000. Both of the vehicles have a range above 300 miles. Electric vehicle stocks have been on a fire this year. Can you invest in Rivian? 

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Rivian Automotive was founded by RJ Scaringe. The company has attracted investments from Amazon, Ford, and Cox Automotive. Funds managed by T. Rowe Price and BlackRock have also invested in Rivian.

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Who owns Rivian Automotive?

Rivian is a privately held company. Last year, Amazon placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from the company. Rivian plans to become the first company to deliver an all-electric pickup truck. Earlier this year, it raised $2.5 billion in a round led by T. Rowe Price.

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Rivian versus Workhorse

While Rivian is focusing on SUVs and a pickup, Workhorse is focusing on last-mile delivery vehicles. It's expected to win a major contract from the USPS. The USPS is expecting to award a $6.3 billion contract for 180,000 new environmentally-friendly trucks by the end of this year.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos don’t have the best of relations. Amazon’s investment in Rivian as well as the orders for its vehicles are seen in the same light.

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When is the Rivian R1S coming out?

According to Rivian, it would start delivering the R1S in the U.S. in August 2021, while deliveries of the R1T launch edition would start in June 2021. The company would start delivering both of the vehicles in the Canadian markets in November 2021.

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Is Rivian a public company?

Rivian isn't a publicly-traded company. The company is held privately between the founder and investors. Since the company isn't publicly traded, investors can't buy the stock. However, given the euphoria towards electric vehicle stocks, Rivian might consider a listing to unlock value and also raise funds.

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This year, two Chinese electric vehicle companies, XPeng and Li Auto, have listed in the U.S. markets. Both of these stocks are up sharply from their IPO price. U.S.-based electric vehicle companies Lordstown and Nikola have also listed this year using the SPAC route. Canoo and QuantumScape, two of the other electric vehicle plays, are also looking at an IPO. Tesla and NIO have issued shares twice this year amid investors' massive appetite for electric vehicle stocks.

The electric vehicle race is heating up. Recently listed electric vehicle companies are commanding market capitalizations above established automakers. However, legacy automakers are also raising their games and launching all-electric models of their best selling models. For example, Ford is launching an all-electric version of its F-150 pickup truck. The F-series has been America’s best-selling truck for decades.

It won't be easy for electric vehicle startups and legacy automakers will give them a good fight. While legacy automakers were slow to spot the vehicle electrification trend, they have doubled down their vehicle electrification plans over the last two years.


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