Tesla Rival Rivian Warns of EV Battery Shortages

Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Bazemore/AP/Shutterstock (12649743a)Rivian logo is shown on one of the company's electric pickup trucks, in AtlantaRivian, Atlanta, United States - 15 Dec 2021.
John Bazemore / AP / John Bazemore/AP/Shutterstock

Electric vehicle (EV) company Rivian, which had a blockbuster IPO in November, is struggling with supply chain disruptions and chip shortages like many of its rivals. But now, CEO R.J. Scaringe says the looming EV battery shortage will make the current semiconductor shortfall feel like “a small appetizer,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Scaringe said building enough batteries will be among the biggest hurdles for an industry trying to boost EV sales from a few million today to tens of millions within the decade. The industry faces struggles with the mining of raw materials, processing them, and building the battery cells per The WSJ.

“Put very simply, all the world’s cell production combined represents well under 10% of what we will need in 10 years,” Scaringe said last week while giving reporters a tour of the company’s plant in Normal, Illinois. “Meaning, 90% to 95% of the supply chain does not exist.”

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In a letter to shareholders in March, Scaringe said that he anticipates supply chain challenges to persist through 2022.

“Our path to EV leadership won’t be easy. In the immediate term, we are not immune to the supply chain issues that have challenged the entire industry. Those issues, which we believe will continue through at least 2022, have added a layer of complexity to our production ramp-up. We are working diligently and collaboratively with suppliers to identify and head off problems or constraints as quickly as possible,” he wrote in the letter.

CFRA Research has a “hold” opinion on Rivian, which “reflects caution as we believe expectations surrounding the company’s revenue and EBITDA growth are too high,” according to an April 9 research note sent to GOBankingRates.

“We also have a positive view of its agreement to supply Amazon with 100K delivery vans. Trucks and SUVs have become extremely popular with U.S. consumers over the past decade,” the CFRA indicated. “Risks to our rating and target include production and regulatory delays, recalls and other vehicle quality-related issues, balance sheet/liquidity, competition, and potential capital raises.”

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In March, Rivian had to issue an apology for the retroactive price increases — concerning pre-ordered EVs — it had announced earlier in the week. In an open letter, Scaringe wrote that the company “broke the trust we have worked to build” with customers, and that he is “truly sorry and committed to rebuilding your trust.”

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Find: Rivian Issues Apology for Retroactive Price Increase on Pre-Ordered EVs

Scaringe detailed in the same letter that, since originally setting the pricing structure, a lot has changed — and that the costs of the components and materials which go into building Rivian vehicles have risen considerably.

Rivian’s stock is down 60% year-to-date.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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