A potential challenger to the world’s most valuable car maker Tesla, has enjoyed a successful floatation on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.

Amazon-backed electric vehicle maker Rivian was founded in 2009, and also counts Ford as a major backer. When it announced its IPO intentions in August, it sought a valuation of more than $70 billion (£50bn).

However on Wednesday Rivian raised more than $11bn in a stock market listing, that briefly valued the company at more than $100bn in one of the world’s biggest ever floats.

Rivian’s R1T electric pickup truck. Image credit: Rivian

Successful listing

Rivian has raised more than $10bn from Amazon, Ford, T Rowe Price and others, including a $2.5bn investment led by Amazon in July and a $2.65bn round in January that valued the company at $27.6bn.

But its share sale on Wednesday was the largest since Facebook in 2012 and valued Rivian higher than Ford or General Motors.

The car maker had priced its shares at the $78 each, significantly above the $52 a share lower end of the range it had first targeted.

When the shares started trading on the Nasdaq on Wednesday, they were priced at $106, valuing the company at $90bn.

However the share price rose in early trading, pushing Rivian’s value past $100bn before ending the day worth $86bn.

Rivian’s R1T electric pickup truck. Image credit: Rivian

Rivian manufactures its vehicles in a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, and it has begun slowly to ship pickup trucks, with an SUV to follow.

Rivian’s R1S electric SUV. Image credit: Rivian

Delayed manufacturing

The deliveries have been repeatedly delayed by the pandemic and other factors, founder R.J. Scaringe acknowledged in a letter to customers in the summer.

“Everything from facility construction, to equipment installation, to vehicle component supply (especially semiconductors) has been impacted by the pandemic,” he wrote.

The company is also developing 100,000 custom delivery vans for Amazon, with the first models being added to Amazon’s fleet this year and at least 10,000 due on the roads by the end of 2022.

When Amazon’s Jeff Bezos rode into space aboard his Blue Origin rocket in the summer, he and the crew travelled to the launchpad in a Rivian vehicle.

Also in July Rivian said it’s looking to build a second US plant and is also reportedly considering a European facility.

Amongst its smaller facilities is an engineering office in Woking in the UK that handles “advanced concepts, body and lighting”.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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