The production and impending deliveries of the Rivian R1T may be catching most of the electric vehicle community’s attention these days, but it appears that the truck maker may actually have a different priority in the near term. As per a recent report, Rivian is prioritizing the production of Amazon’s electric delivery van rather than the R1T pickup and the R1S SUV.
A Bloomberg report noted that Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe has decided to focus Rivian’s production capabilities on its Amazon delivery van project, citing people familiar with the matter. The publication’s sources claimed that the CEO is looking to build about 300 Electric Delivery Vans (“EDV”) by the end of this year, with the first 10,000 units due by the end of 2022. The entire 100,000 order is expected by the end of the decade. In comparison, R1T production is anticipated to run “at a trickle,” at least in the near term.
Prioritizing Amazon delivery van production seems to be a strategic decision for Rivian. After all, having Amazon as a customer is a notable advantage in the electric vehicle sector. Without its Amazon delivery vans, sources reportedly familiar with Rivian’s finances have told Bloomberg that it would be extremely challenging to hit the company’s target valuation of $80 billion when it goes for its initial public offering.
Rivian’s recent S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission all but highlighted the close relationship between the electric vehicle company and the e-commerce giant. As per the filing, Amazon will have exclusive rights to Rivian’s Electric Delivery Vans for four years following the delivery of the first van. Amazon gets the right of first refusal to purchase the vans for two years after that point.
“Under the EDV Agreement, we and Logistics have agreed to collaborate to design, develop, manufacture, and supply EDVs and/or certain component parts and related services for use in Amazon’s last mile delivery operations. We also have agreed under the EDV Agreement that until the fourth anniversary of when Logistics first receives EDVs (the “Initial Delivery Date”), whether or not Logistics purchases any EDVs from us, we will exclusively provide last mile delivery vehicles to Amazon, and from the fourth anniversary to the sixth anniversary of the Initial Delivery Date, Amazon will have a right of first refusal to purchase last mile delivery vehicles that we produce,” the S-1 filing noted.
Rivian’s focus on the Amazon delivery van does not come without risks for the electric truck maker. In a statement to the publication, Ross Gale, a New Jersey-based car collector and business owner, noted that the Launch Green Rivian R1T he ordered last November is an exciting vehicle. However, the communication from the company so far has been quite lacking. “I 100% believe in the product, having never seen one, having never touched one. But I am annoyed with the failure to meet promises. I mean, just be honest. Tell us what you’re doing,” Gale said.
So far, Rivian has reportedly received refundable deposits for 48,390 R1T and R1S vehicles. This is a relatively conservative number, at least when compared to the Ford F-150 Lightning, which has received over 150,000 non-binding reservations to date. Unofficial trackers for Tesla Cybertruck orders currently estimate over a million pre-orders for the upcoming vehicle. However, the Rivian R1T and R1S are both premium trucks, which means that they are targeting a different demographic than the F-150 Lightning or the Cybertruck. RJ Scaringe is looking to create the Patagonia of trucks with Rivian, and for such a goal, 48,390 R1T and R1S reservations is not bad to start at all.
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