Rivian’s CFO Claire McDonough gave details on the EV maker’s progress and future outlook at the recent Barclay’s Automotive & Mobility Tech Conference.
Rivian, which supplies electric vans for Amazon’s delivery services in the US, announced the arrival of electric vans in Germany earlier this year.
The partnership will see 100,000 electric delivery vehicles (EDVs) on the road by 2030, as part of the Amazon’s Climate Pledge, made in 2019.
However, Rivian is eyeing a customer base beyond Amazon and ended its exclusivity deal with the online retail giant at the end of Q4 2023.
In November last year the automaker announced it would enable other firms to purchase its custom-designed Rivian Commercial Van.
On the announcement, RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian said: “Amazon is, and will remain, a key partner for us, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Amazon team as we help them to achieve their Climate Pledge goal.”
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Rivian on emerging from ‘fire fighting’ mode and achieving greater stability
Claire McDonough: “It is pretty remarkable to see the progress we have continued to make across the board – that’s really been driven by a couple of key factors.”
“We’ve in aggregate reduced the gross profit losses by over $100,000 per vehicle delivered, as you look back to Q3 last year versus Q3 this year as a whole.”
Ms McDonough continued, adding that Rivian’s progress can be tied to the ramp-up on production levels, and the overall operating efficiency it has been able to deliver at its production facility in Normal, Illinois.
“Reducing material costs within our vehicles…in Q1  we took some downtime to introduce our LFP battery pack and first fully in-house Enduro drive unit into our commercial van portfolio.
“We were able to ramp-up our brand-new supply chain and collectively – between LFP battery pack and Enduro – we were able to reduce our material cost by 35% for the commercial vans. That demonstrates the significant level of material cost reduction through the integration of new technologies that we’re capable of.”
On gating factors for EDVs, which have been running at approximately 10,000 units a year.
“We will start to see volume to non-Amazon customers coming in through the introduction of pilots with large scale fleets across the country,” she said.
“The sales cycle for the EDV business is a long date cycle, which starts with pilot fleets – this is significant for those non-Amazon volumes, which take time to manifest over the 12, 18, months and beyond as we build that backlog of volume and demand.”
Ms McDonough added that Rivian has been more “demand constrained given our singular customer in Amazon” and supply constrained in the ongoing ramp-up of the commercial side of our business as a whole.
“[We are] excited about the opportunity ahead of ourselves to fully utilise the 65,000 units of commercial van volume we will have available to us next year.”
Rivian’s Georgia build out
“To date, most of the work on our Georgia site has been excavated on behalf of the state of Georgia and they have done most of the grading work,” Ms McDonough said.
She added that Rivian hopes to build its first prototype on the line and “getting towards our first sellable vehicles in 2026 for consumers.”
In details shared earlier this year, Rivian’s new manufacturing facility at its Stanton Springs North site is expected to have an annual capacity of 400,000 units when fully complete. The site is expected to produce the next gen R2 Rivian electric car models (smaller than the current R1S and R1T models – an SUV and a pickup) from 2025 or 2026.
The State of Georgia and Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton & Walton Counties have worked with state and local partners to prepare the site for Rivian’s arrival.
Rivian says it expects to hold a formal groundbreaking ceremony in early 2024, with start of vertical construction to begin afterwards.