It isn’t too much of a stretch to say that Rivian is the most promising electric vehicle startup to come online since Tesla Motors. The East Irvine, California-based automaker has managed to capture a huge amount of interest from both buyers and investors alike, receiving financial backing from the likes of Ford, Amazon, Fidelity Investments and T. Rowe Price. Unlike other newcomers in the segment, the automaker has plans to roll out three new models within the first year of : the Rivian R1T, R1S, and their electric delivery van. Thanks to a new report from Bloomberg, we now have some more information related to Rivian’s production targets.
While Rivian themselves haven’t been transparent about their production goals, sources close to the company have given Bloomberg some insight as to what we can all expect. According to the report, Rivian is building towards an annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles, with plans to build as many as 40,000 units within their first full year. That figure represents an average of around 800 vehicles per week, which would be quite an achievement for a brand new automaker. For comparison, Tesla Motors rolled out some 5,000 examples of the Model 3 during its first full year of production in 2018.
While these production goals may seem like an unrealistic task out of the gate, Rivian has had plenty of support in terms of getting up to speed. The company’s 2.4 million-square-foot factory in Normal, Illinois, has been fit with advanced robotics and other modern production technology in order to help push vehicles out quickly. Furthermore, the electric vehicle automaker has reportedly taken a significant amount of advice from the Ford Motor Company as it relates to production strategies. This represents a vastly different approach than other EV automakers, who have avoided the help of “archaic” legacy automakers. That said, Ford certainly knows a thing or two about churning out products, considering a new F-150 rolls off the production line every minute of every day.
The design behind each of Rivian’s products should also help speed up production. All three of their vehicles share the same skateboard platform, which are constructed on two dedicated production lines. These chassis will then split off into separate lines where workers will fit the vehicles with their designated bodywork, creating the Rivian R1T, R1S, and Delivery Van models in a seemingly efficient manner.
The launch of the Rivian R1T is slated to take place this June, followed up quickly by the Rivian R1S in August. The Amazon’s contracted Delivery Vans are slated to begin production in the fall, with an order of 10,000 units due by the end of 2022. Should everything go according to plan, Rivian will release the three models back-to-back, something no other EV startup has ever accomplished. Even if there are a few issues in the early days, the automaker will be able to rely on their contract with Amazon for some much-needed cash flow. That said, the automaker already has plans to bring the company public, at which point they could receive a valuation as high as $50 billion. Building production units is much harder than cranking out prototypes however, and we’ll have to wait and see how the newcomer handles the transition
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