Production of the Rivian R1T electric pickup has finally begun. The startup maker of electric SUVs and pickups, backed by the likes of Ford and Amazon, was recently valued at $10BN despite selling no vehicles. The R1T debuted in 2018 and was due to be production-ready by 2020, a very ambitious timetable for any automotive manufacturer. Such rapid development may well yield production quality issues down the line, only time will tell. The journey of the R1T has been delayed due to numerous obstacles from government approval processes, production issues, supply chain issues, and of course the pandemic. The R1T was subsequently pushed back to a June 2021 launch and even that got delayed. Now it’s September and finally, the Rivian R1T is rolling off the assembly line and being prepared for delivery to the first customers.
The Rivian RT1 is being sold at a premium with First Edition launch models retailing for $73K. But if you are prepared to wait until early next year you can order the ‘cheaper’ entry-level Adventure and Explore models which start from $67K. Rivian is targeting annual production of 40,000 vehicles in its first year before building up to a target capacity of 300,000 vehicles for which there is no indicated timeline. Even existing car manufactures would take years to scale from a production variable of 40k to 300k vehicles.
Rivian is not guaranteed to have 300,000 annual vehicle sales, especially when cheaper alternatives such as the Ford F-150 Lighting EV starts at $40K for entry-level models. And then there is the $40K Tesla Cybertruck which already has a pre-order waiting list of 1 million.