Late last week, Rivian filed for an initial public offering. The 12-year-old electric vehicle manufacturer, which is backed by Amazon and considered one of the biggest threats to Tesla, is seeking a valuation as high as $80 billion. That would make Rivian one of the world’s most valuable automakers, worth billions more than Ford or GM — and its trucks aren’t even on the road yet. Rivian’s first vehicle, a $73,000 pickup, is expected to start shipping in September, and a second model, a $75,500 seven-seat SUV, is supposed to be released next year.
In some ways, Rivian’s timing is good. President Joe Biden recently issued an executive order that called for electric vehicles to account for half of all new auto sales in the United States by 2030, and a growing number of legacy automakers have committed to shifting their production to electric vehicles in the next two decades.
But as the world continues to struggle with the pandemic, Rivian faces some serious challenges. A shortage of semiconductors has caused delays and production halts across the auto industry. There also aren’t that many charging stations available across the US, leaving some potential EV buyers worried about running out of juice.