The electric vehicle landscape is getting more and more crowded, with new companies such as Lucid Motors and Rivian Automotive expected to deliver their first production vehicles to customers soon. Amidst this momentum, and as Rivian aims to go public with an impressive target valuation, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has posted some advice — and a warning of sorts — to the newcomers of the mass EV market.
Musk’s initial thoughts about new electric car makers came as a response to Tesla bull Warren Redlich, who posted an image highlighting that both Lucid and Rivian are actually yet to deliver a legitimate production vehicle to customers. This contrasts greatly with what happened to Tesla, since the company had already delivered about 1,400 Roadsters before it went public on June 29, 2010 at $17 per share.
Rivian’s filings have revealed that the company is looking to get a valuation of about $80 billion when it goes public. This is quite substantial considering that the only deliveries of the R1T pickup truck that have been reported so far were to company employees. A recent report from Bloomberg noted that Rivian is looking to focus its deliveries this year on its Amazon electric delivery van, which would likely result in R1T deliveries being very conservative in the near future.
Lucid is a bit on the same boat, as the company has gone public without first delivering its highly-anticipated Air luxury sedan. So far, Lucid has stated that it is looking to start deliveries of the Air in late October. However, Lucid is only planning on producing 577 Air sedans in 2021, as per a Forbes report.
Commenting on the valuation of Lucid and Rivian, Elon Musk added that “(Is) it possible to start an EV company without shipping any cars & get a valuation less than a billion dollars!?” In a later post on Twitter, Musk shared more of his thoughts. According to the Tesla CEO, he is hoping that the newcomers to the EV sphere have a high tolerance for pain since scaling production, managing the supply chain, logistics, and service is a “world of hurt.”
This is not the first time that Elon Musk has posted a warning about the challenges of mass production. During the Q2 2021 earnings call, Musk reiterated these thoughts while describing how difficult it was to actually ramp the production of Tesla’s 4680 battery cells. Musk noted that in the 4680 batteries’ case, producing them in prototype form was incredibly easy, but ramping their output to a meaningful level was a completely different beast altogether.
“Limited production is easy, prototype production is easy but high-volume production is hard. There are a number of challenges in transitioning from sort of small-scale production to a large volume production,” Musk said. Considering Tesla’s experiences with “production hell” when it was ramping the Model 3, upcoming EV makers such as Rivian and Lucid would be wise to take note of Musk’s warnings and advice.
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