Big threat to success of Tesla revealed
Forget Ford and General Motors, financial analysts are tipping that a US start-up company is looming as the biggest threat to the success of Tesla's outlandish Cybertruck.
More than 250,000 people are reported to have put down a $150 holding deposit on the Cybertruck, which Tesla says will enter production in 2021.
If successful, the Tesla pick-up could put a sizeable dent in the profits of Ford and General Motors, who between them sell roughly 1.5 million pick-ups a year.
But while Ford and General Motors are scrambling to beat Tesla to the punch with an electric truck, a Michigan start-up is fast gaining ground on all three.
Earlier this week, Rivian announced it had raised another $US1.3 billion ($1.87 billion) in funding for its R1T pick-up and R1S SUV. That brings the total funding it has raised this year to more than $4 billion.
The company has also signed deals to produce 100,000 delivery vans for Amazon and provide EV technology under licence to Ford. Both Ford and Amazon are key investors in the start-up.
Rivian plans to beat the Cybertruck - and Ford and GM's EV trucks - to market, beginning production next year.
Leading data and analytics company, Global Data, says the latest capital raising will allow Rivian to deliver on its promise of producing its first vehicles late next year.
Aurojyoti Bose, lead analyst at GlobalData, says Rivian is "gaining traction among investors".
"The latest investment round and partnerships position the Plymouth-based company as one of the better-financed players in the global EV market," he says.
"While Tesla is the most established maker, other auto giants such as Ford and General Motors also plan to spend billions of dollars to develop EVs. Against this back drop, Rivian is best placed to give tough competition to Tesla, particularly in the truck and SUV categories, where Tesla has little presence," he says.
Rivian says its truck will tow up to 4500kg and have a claimed range of up to 640km. Tesla's cheapest Cybertruck, which will start from $US39,900 (about $57,000), will tow 3400kg and have a range of 400km. A more expensive version will tow 4500kg and have roughly 480km of range.
The good news for Aussie tradies is that both utes are expected to be sold in Australia.
The Rivian R1T will be available in two versions with 135kWh or 180kWh battery packs, with respective theoretical range of 500km and 640km.
All are all-wheel drive - electric motors power each wheel, with torque vectoring to ensure optimum grip.
Power figures vary with specification: the base makes 563kW/1120Nm and the top-spec prioritises range over power, making 522kW/1120Nm.
The ute will have an 800kg payload and a wading depth of up to a metre.
The R1S features genuine luxury interiors with a digital instrument display and a larger centrally mounted infotainment screen and leather upholstery and wood veneer.
The stumbling block could be price.
It is expected will be priced from $US65,000 ($93,000) after electric vehicle incentives in the States which range from $US2500-$7500 ($3500-$10,500) depending on battery size.