Overtaking Tesla? Two Startups moving into the Fast Lane
To date, Rivian and Lucid have only produced a few hundred vehicles each. And they are both worth more than 118-year-old car giant Ford.
Their investors are big names too – Lucid is subsidized by Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund, and Rivian stands to sell 100,000 of its delivery trucks to Amazon, with Ford also providing substantial financial support.
They’re even giving Tesla a run for its money.
So what’s the appeal?
A major selling point for both companies is the MO of their executive teams. In an industry that can get hung up on hype (to disastrous effect) analysts have praised the execs at Rivian and Lucid for focusing on the fundamentals – and actually making cars.
Another point in favour of Lucid is its leader, Peter Rawlinson, an industry vet and Tesla alum who played a big part in the development of the highly successful Model S.
As for Rivian’s CEO, RJ Scaringe, things are a little less clear. Scaringe’s CV isn’t as long as Rawlinson’s, but his PhD in mechanical engineering shows technical know-how which is matched by clear business smarts. At only 36 he’s enjoyed a meteoric rise.
Rivian’s principal product is the R1T pickup truck – the first battery-powered truck to be made available in the US. Although competing products are on the way, such as Ford’s anticipated F-150 Lightning, Rivian is taking care to market to a specific clientele. Rather than being strictly practical (Ford’s truck boasts the ability to power a home in a power outage or be used as a generator for work-site tools) the R1T is geared towards America’s adventurers. The vehicle features a “gear tunnel” for stashing climbing or camping equipment, a flashlight built into the door, removable Bluetooth speakers and even a literal (though optional) kitchen sink – along with an induction stove for cooking on the trail.
Lucid Motors ($LCID)
Lucid is going for an entirely different niche in the US market. Described by its execs as “Unashamedly…high-end”, and “post luxury” it seems unlikely that anyone ever is carrying camping gear or doing the washing up in the upcoming Lucid Air Dream Edition. With its uninterrupted glass roof, “silvered eucalyptus” wooden interior and “naturally coloured alpaca wool” seats, Lucid are producing an electric answer to cars like the Mercedes S-class.
So are we in for a Bumpy Ride?
Both companies have a lot to prove.
It remains to be seen how these luxury car manufacturers will scale up beyond the few hundred vehicles they have each produced so far. Tesla may not have alpaca wool seats or induction stoves, but they have proved they can do mass production in a way that these boutique car-makes have not. What’s more, their other competitors, such as Ford, have centuries more experience in the auto sector and have the resources to produce millions of cars at a low cost.
However, these up-and-coming companies are not committed to internal combustion and may have a better shot than the big kids at taking over the ever-growing electric vehicle market.
Image & Video Credits: Lucid Motors, Rivian