Rivian Output Jumps, but Is It Out of the Woods Yet?

The EV startup is getting back on track, but it still has a long way to go to produce 25,000 EVs this year.

2022 rivian r1s
  • Rivian reveals that it has produced 7363 vehicles in the third quarter of 2022, and delivered 6584, representing a serious increase over the previous quarter.
  • The company began delivering production examples of an electric van for Amazon, its third model thus far, earlier this summer.
  • Rivian is still battling high materials costs and supplier issues amid higher than expected operating costs.

    Rivian hasn't had the smoothest year, what with the rising cost of materials and supplier issues. But is the outlook improving in the second half of the year?

    The EV maker revealed this week that it has delivered 6584 vehicles in the third quarter, while producing 7363 vehicles. That's a marked improvement over the second quarter of this year, when Rivian delivered 4467 vehicles while producing 4401 examples of the R1T and R1S.

    The EV maker once again did not reveal a model breakdown, but it is believed that the SUV accounts for a minority of production at the moment, as Rivian is fulfilling orders for its R1T electric pickup placed some time ago.

    "These figures remain in line with the company's expectations, and it believes it is on track to deliver on the 25,000 annual production guidance previously provided," the company added.

    The sudden increase in production and deliveries is good news for the EV startup, which battled choppy seas this year. But it will need to produce about 10,000 in the fourth quarter to hit that 25,000-unit target.

    One item glossed over in this update is that Rivian finally began delivering production examples of its electric van for Amazon in July of this year, though it hasn't shared just how many examples it has been able to provide the online retail giant so far. Amazon has ordered some 100,000 vans from the EV maker—an order which will take a few years to fulfill.

    Is the EV truck and SUV startup out of the woods just yet?

    Not quite, as Rivian is still burning cash at a breathtaking pace. The company posted a $1.7 billion loss in the second quarter, blaming higher materials pricing, and has hinted that the situation may not improve in the near term. This condition is typical for startups that have begun manufacturing, which in Rivian's case was only a year ago, and it could persist for quite some time.

    Also, there is no guarantee that Rivian won't be forced to raise prices eventually, even though it was largely dissuaded from doing so earlier this spring.

    "Throughout the quarter, our cost of materials was impacted by inflationary pressures, which we believe will continue to be an impact for the near future," Rivian said in a letter to shareholders at the end of the second quarter.

    The good news is that the company still has over $10 billion in cash, and that it has launched series production of its third vehicle in the past quarter, after a long introductory period. The sight of electric Amazon vans from Rivian on the road should give the company an image boost ahead of 2023, which could see smoother sailing at its Normal, Illinois plant.

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