This self-driving truck hopes to be as luxurious as a ‘luxury’ ride-hailing service



It’s like a young Mattel’s getting closer to a giant over-sized Barbie—but this time it’s real.

Rivian Automotive, a ride-hailing startup run by the serial entrepreneur, has filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission that would value the company at $5 billion to $50 billion. While that valuation exceeds that of Uber’s latest fundraising by $15 billion, it’s down from its January filing that valued the company at about $5.2 billion. At $50 billion, Rivian wouldn’t match the estimated $62.5 billion valuation of Detroit-based General Motors, the world’s largest automaker.

The private firm is looking to raise between $750 million and $1 billion in an initial public offering. So far, with only one vehicle on the road, Rivian has raised roughly $1.2 billion.

Rivian makes a “utility” electric vehicle called the Rivian Ranger, which is headed to about 150 markets around the world in the next five years. It also expects to expand its electric vehicle lineup with “legacy” vehicles that will share some platforms.

The route to taking up electric vehicles might differ than the usual one with a start-up that would sell into a “next big thing” such as ride-hailing or self-driving cars.

While GM’s parent company, General Motors Co., originally started producing pickup trucks and sports cars in its famed Bowling Green, Ky., factory in 1913, Rivian began building its “utility” electric vehicles in March 2017. The startup and GM unveiled its vehicles in a special “bucket truck” format at the same time last year.

Rivian got its start in the U.S. in Arlington, Texas, and it relocated its headquarters from the Lone Star State to Livonia, Mich., in 2016. The company is now headquartered in Ypsilanti, Mich., with a large research and development facility in Burnaby, British Columbia.

The company employs about 700 people in the U.S. and 1,500 around the world. It’s also working with a battery manufacturer in Germany to try to bring down the cost of its products.

While Rivian doesn’t offer detailed product information, the company’s website lists its electric Ranger as offering a combination of size, features and reliability “you won’t find on any other car.” It offers a 50-mile range with a four-passenger model with power at a rate of 85 miles per hour, which it said is the fastest electric passenger car on the road. The average price of its vehicles is $60,000, Rivian said in the SEC filing.

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