The EV start-up Rivian (RIVN) went IPO earlier this month. Despite having little revenue this year, the company is valued at $110+bn, the second most valuable US auto OEM after Tesla. As EV adoption is at a tipping point (~10% of penetration), we expect RIVN to capture market share rapidly in the auto market, which sells 90mn vehicles globally each year.
RIVN's founder RJ Scaringe is a visionary with sophisticated design sensibilities and marketing know-how. Rivian currently targets the premium pickup truck, SUV, and commercial van markets. Rivian uses a common vertically integrated platform, which will allow fast-paced innovation cycles, structural cost advantages, and better customer experiences, as witnessed at Tesla.
In terms of product differentiation, RIVN's vehicles are aimed to be lifestyle products for recreational use. The R1S SUV will directly challenge TSLA's Model X, and the R1T pickup will primarily compete against Ford's F-150 and TSLA's Cybertruck. The RIVN R1T electric truck is a masterpiece of design and engineering and has received very positive reviews.
Amazon owns 20% of the business and has ordered 100,000 commercial vans. Over time, Rivian is likely to be the only OEM that can go toe-to-toe with Tesla regarding innovation, brand, and software. We think Tesla still retains a slight edge on cost leadership and autonomy while Rivian could outperform when it comes to product and brand loyalty.
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