The US electric car startup Rivian, supported by Amazon and Ford, is looking for European locations for a new plant. Germany, the United Kingdom and Hungary are among the countries under discussion, sources close to the matter said.
The factory would first produce the delivery vehicle that Rivian is making for Amazon, and then vehicles for private customers, Bloomberg reports. The financial news service did not disclose their sources but also suggest that Rivian was preparing to go public in autumn.
While non of the companies involved confirmed the news, it appears that Rivian has hired the commercial real estate services firm JLL for the search. The carmaker hopes to start van production as soon as next year, according to the report. There is also talk on retail space in Europe where it will exhibit its vehicles.
Rivian entered the stage with two showy pick-up trucks in LA in 2018 initially but has soon moved towards serious scale. Amazon ordered 100,000 delivery vans in 2019 and started working with Rivian engineers straight on. Only a week ago, Amazon said they want to deploy the Rivian vehicles in up to 15 more cities throughout 2021, and that testing was on-going. By 2022, the fleet shall incorporate 10,000 e-vans and grow to the 100,000 e-vans on order by 2030.
Clearly, it is indeed “a critical year” for the company as Rivian Founder, and CEO RJ Scaringe suggested earlier in January. At the time, he was able to confirm rumours of a new billion-dollar financing round for the electric car startup: Rivian had closed a $2.65 billion deal with several existing and new investors such as T. Rowe Prive and Coatue and Amazon. This brought Rivian’s evaluation to over 25 billion US dollars (around 20 billion euros). If Rivian really goes for a stock listing, a SPAC merger would be likely. Analysts speak of a 50 billion dollar listing.
Amazon is heavily invested in Rivian. They led a $700-million financing round in Rivian as early as in February 2019. They leverage Rivian’s customizable skateboard platform to create a dedicated delivery vehicle. Amazon also started getting the buildings ready to accommodate the new fleet of vehicles and installed thousands of electric vehicle charging stations at its delivery stations across North America and Europe.
Currently, Rivian is running a factory in Normal, Illinois but has yet to deliver to clients other than Amazon. Pre-orders for the launch edition RTs did sell out quickly though as reported in November.
Despite deliveries being outstanding, given the clients, backers and market potential, it seems likely Rivian will find financing for the plant in Europe. Reports have yet to confirm or state a schedule.
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