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Electric truck startup Rivian applies for an IPO, targeting $ 70 billion

Rivian, a promising and well-funded manufacturer of electric trucks, plans to sell shares via an IPO, the company announced on Friday, just weeks before it plans to ship its first electric pickups to customers.

The company, which has raised more than $ 10 billion from investors like Amazon and Ford Motor, is building an electric pickup truck and SUV at a former Mitsubishi plant in Illinois. Its founder, RJ Scaringe, told customers last month that he expected the truck to be delivered in September and the SUV to follow soon after. The company also develops delivery vans for Amazon.

Rivian aims to list its shares valued at around $ 70 billion, said a person familiar with the matter. That would be higher than Ford’s market capitalization and would make the company one of the most valuable automakers in the world. A Rivian representative declined to comment on the rating it was seeking and declined to provide further details on its offer.

Wall Street investors have tended to hold high in electric vehicle companies in recent years, largely due to the success of Tesla, the dominant maker of electric cars. With a market capitalization of around $ 700 billion, Tesla is by far the most valuable automaker in the world. Lucid Motors, which makes luxury electric cars and recently merged with Nasdaq, is valued at $ 34 billion. That’s about half the market value of General Motors, even though Lucid hasn’t shipped any cars to customers yet.

Auto analysts consider Rivian to be one of the most profitable startups for electric vehicles in what is expected to be a highly competitive market. In addition to Tesla, major automakers such as GM, Volkswagen and Ford plan to bring dozens of electric cars and trucks to market in the coming years.

“It’s an EV juggernaut – it has a pedigree of Amazon, Ford, and a who’s who of funders,” said Dan Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities. “Investors have been waiting for the day a Rivian would go public.”

When the company’s electric pickup hits the market in September, it will beat GMC’s electric Hummer pickup, expected by the end of the year, and Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning. The gas-powered F-150 has long been America’s best-selling vehicle, and the electric version could instantly become a driving force in the electric market when it debuts, most likely in the spring.

Rivian also plans to expand a network of charging stations and service centers, Scaringe, an engineer with a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in the July email to customers.

The company may be entering a crowded field, but it’s taking a different approach than Tesla, the pioneer most people think of when they think of electric cars. Tesla has had great success selling sporty sedans, but it hasn’t yet focused heavily on pickups and vehicles suitable for the road – lucrative segments of the auto industry. Rivian has focused on making “adventure” vehicles that it says are made for trails and dirt roads.

“Rivian is one of the best positioned electric vehicle startups,” Asad Hussain, senior mobility analyst at PitchBook, said via email. “The company’s focus on the relatively untapped market for premium electric trucks should enable rapid market acceptance.”

The leaders of Rivian and Tesla are also very different. Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, was a brazen and combative force in the automotive industry who made great promises and engaged in public feuds with individuals and government agencies. Scaringe is an understatement and has been measured in his public statements and promises.

That year, a California state judge allowed Tesla to commence a lawsuit alleging that Rivian stole intellectual property by hiring employees. Rivian said the lawsuit was unfounded and intended to hurt a rapidly growing competitor.

Although Rivian has existed in some form since 2009, over the past decade it has faced frequent skepticism about a product that appeared aloof and speculative, Scaringe said in a June interview.

“At the beginning, on the first day of the first year, the risk of starting such a company is enormous and the probability of success is very low,” he said. “That’s just true. And I had to accept that.”

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