EV industry’s dependence on private investment continues

George Soros’ multi-billion US-dollar investment in Rivian shows EV growth remains driven by the private sector despite new government funding. By Christopher Dyer

Once briefly considered the third most valuable electric vehicle (EV) brand on the market, Rivian’s recent stock price slump highlights the increasing pressure on the industry to deliver vehicles and infrastructure on its own. Further investment in the industry by private equity firms and individual investors demonstrates the need for better government support globally. Multi-billionaire George Soros’ investment of US$2bn into Rivian is one example of this, with emerging automakers struggling to keep afloat after the pandemic.

Rivian’s focus is the SUV and off-road luxury segment. Coming to prominence in 2018, it garnered significant financial backing from investors with its R1-T electric luxury pick-up utility vehicle. This area of the industry remains profitable, with JATO Dynamics noting that 44% of current internal combustion engine (ICE) sales are SUVs. However, the brand's need to diversify for survival has led to it developing a presence in electric delivery vans and charging infrastructure. Despite this, the move may become increasingly profitable. As more drivers make the shift towards EVs, many will look for familiarity in the brands they see, ultimately influencing the vehicles they buy.

Rivian Motors backed by Soros investment
Rivian garnered significant financial backing from investors with its R1-T electric luxury pick-up utility vehicle

Private investment remains integral to many brands' market survival. While the new federal investment bill has committed the US government to enhance greater EV infrastructure development, its sluggish execution has deepened manufacturers' dependencies on private investment. Despite this, California have quickly adopted this legislation, forcing automakers to abide to a more stringent greenhouse bill and now face bans on selling new ICEs by 2035. Rivian will remain at the centre of these developments as California illustrates the positive impact political and financial measures can have, supporting better infrastructure and higher EV adoption rates.

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