Rivian’s investment in charging is significant because the startup has burned through billions of dollars over the past two years to start production of the R1T, R1S and commercial vans for Amazon. The company’s low production numbers and growing financial losses so far have weighed on its stock price, down about 90 percent since going public in late 2021.

McDonough suggested at a recent investor conference that Rivian could receive government funds to build part of its charging network starting in 2024, with the requirement that its chargers be open to the public.

“We expect to be able to start to participate in those forms of credits beginning in 2024,” McDonough said at the Bank of America event this month, according to a recording posted online. “We’re working toward opening our charging network as well. That will allow us to have access to some of those government funds.”

The Biden administration issued final rules in February for companies that want to tap into some of the $7.5 billion in federal funding for charging networks.

Tesla has pledged to open about 3,500 of its Superchargers to the public by the end of 2024, which makes it eligible to seek federal incentives to build charging stations. Tesla, which opened a small number of Superchargers to all EVs in February, currently has about 17,000 fast chargers across the U.S. and plans to double that in two years.

The consultancy EVAdoption estimates that Rivian added 72 charging units at 12 new stations in the first quarter of this year, which was more than the Electrify America network but less than Tesla, EVgo, ChargePoint and EV Connect.

In the next few years, the Rivian Adventure Network could become the fifth-largest charging network behind Tesla, Electrify America, EVgo and ChargePoint, said EVAdoption CEO Loren McDonald.

“They can and likely will become a significant player,” McDonald said of the Rivian network. “The key questions are if they decide to slow down once they think they have good coverage where their owners live and road trip and if it makes financial sense” to keep growing, he said.

Before opening up to the public, McDonald added, “they need to focus now on creating a great experience for their customers and make sure they have their network working seamlessly. Then they can turn it into a business.”

That could take a few years, he added.

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