BEV Manufacturer Rivian Optimistic Despite Q3 Loss

CEO R.J. Scaringe says Rivian’s amended agreement with Amazon, which owns a 20% stake in the BEV maker, gives the start-up the opportunity to sell commercial vans to other customers.

Joseph Szczesny

November 13, 2023

3 Min Read
Rivian Amazon van screenshot
Amazon won’t have exclusive claim to Rivian delivery vans.

Despite facing challenges as it installs new technology in its products, Rivian is presenting a bullish outlook as it raises its production forecast for the year, revises an agreement to sell its battery-electric vans exclusively to Amazon and hints it is preparing to unveil a new vehicle.

The fledgling EV company based in Irvine, CA, is narrowing its losses by trimming costs and boosting production, executives say during a call with analysts as Rivian releases its third-quarter financial report.

R.J. Scaringe, Rivian’s CEO, says, “It was a strong quarter as we continued to deliver on our operational and financial goals.”

Scaringe (pictured, below left) says the company’s amended agreement with Amazon, which owns a 20% stake in Rivian after an investment of $1 billion, gives the BEV maker the opportunity to sell commercial vans to other customers. That will help more companies reduce their CO2 emissions, he says.

Scaringe screenshot.png

Scaringe screenshot

“With more than 10,000 EDVs (electric delivery vans) on the road and 260 million delivered packages, we are already seeing meaningful impact from our initial rollout. We are excited to continue our work with Amazon to deliver on their initial order of 100,000 vehicles, along with a diverse set of new commercial customers,” Scaringe says.

Rivian expects to deliver more than 54,000 vehicles this year, more than double the number it built in 2022. It remains well behind Tesla, which expects to build 1.8 million BEVs this year, but it is outselling more experienced competitors such as General Motors and Ford, which are scrambling to launch BEVs.

Scaringe says Rivian’s R1T light-duty truck is maintaining market share with strong pricing while other BEV makers are cutting prices.

“Later this month, we plan to take about a week of downtime for validation builds to support the incorporation of engineering design changes into the R1 platform, which will be implemented in the planned downtime in the second quarter of 2024,” he says.

The new technologies include cost reductions across a variety of areas, including the vehicle harness, body structure and battery pack, Scaringe says, adding: “These technology changes represent Rivian’s continued emphasis on driving greater cost efficiency. They will significantly contribute to driving towards Rivian’s long-term gross margin targets.”

Rivian also will introduce a smaller battery pack and a variety of different trim and build combinations over the course of the next year, the CEO says.

“What that does is, it provides us with a broader spread of prices or price choices for consumers on the R1 platform to essentially be able to target both the most price-sensitive customers, as well as customers looking to buy sort of the fully loaded maximum-content vehicle,” Scaringe says.

Scaringe says Rivian is focused on developing the company’s next set of products around the R2 platform, which it is plans to introduce early next year.

Claire McDonough, Rivian’s chief financial officer, says the company built 16,304 vehicles during the third quarter and delivered 15,564, which was the primary driver of the $1.3 billion of revenue generated. Rivian lost $477 million, but the gross loss per vehicle improved by approximately $2,000 versus the second quarter, highlighting improved production efficiencies and reducing material costs, McDonough notes.

Rivian’s financial statement shows the BEV maker finished the quarter with $9.1 billion in cash on hand, including restricted cash and short-term investments to back up its future development.

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