Rivian faces tough competitors but has major partners

Electric vehicles could soon dominate the automotive industry and Georgia may have nabbed a potential star in this emerging market.

Rivian Automotive is close to a deal to build a factory near Covington, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations. Paired with the $2.6 billion SK Battery America plant under construction near Commerce, Georgia would become a major state for electric vehicle production.

Tesla is the biggest EV maker, but Rivian’s lineup of pickup trucks, SUVs and delivery vans has captured stock investors’ attention. Its Nov. 10 initial public offering raised about $14 billion and generated a market value of more than $100 billion.

Irvine, California-based Rivian has lined up key business partners. Amazon is Rivian’s largest shareholder and has placed an order for 100,000 delivery vans. Ford is the fourth-largest shareholder and supplies parts to Rivian.

Rivian will have plenty of competitors, in addition to Tesla. Legacy automakers like Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen plan to convert product lines to all-electric in the coming years. That’s driven by corporate and government efforts to tackle climate change by reducing gasoline-based emissions.

Other startup EV companies are moving quickly, too. Lucid Motors is developing a luxury EV sedan. Derek Automotive is opening an EV showroom at Atlantic Station. Chinese EV maker BYD has already produced thousands of vehicles in China.

Rivian delivered its first vehicles to customers in September, made at its Normal, Illinois, factory.

Cox Enterprises, owner of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has a 4.7% stake in Rivian. Sandy Schwartz, a Cox executive who oversees the AJC, is on Rivian’s board of directors and holds stock personally. He does not take part in the AJC’s coverage of Rivian.