DETROIT — Rivian is “making progress” in increasing production of electric vehicles at its Normal, Illinois, assembly plant and aims to take 10% of the EV market share by 2030, Chief Executive Officer RJ Scaring said Thursday.
“We are absolutely making progress,” he said during the Wolfe Research conference on increasing vehicle production. “The plant is starting to ramp up nicely.”
Scaringe said Rivian, whose shares closed up 10.7% at $63.71, idled the plant for the first 10 days of January to make changes to production lines to boost production.
Responding to a question about how big Rivian could be by 2030, Scaring said the company had “positioning the brand to build a portfolio ….”
He called the global semiconductor chip shortage the “most painful” obstacle to manufacturing production. The California-based startup produced 1,015 vehicles last year, well short of its target of 1,200 due to supply-chain constraints.
Scaring said that Rivian has in part replaced some chipsets with other chipsets that are easier to obtain. He said global shortages would be a factor during the rest of the year.
Rivian’s stock declined after struggling with manufacturing its R1T pickup and R1S SUV during its first-quarter earnings report as a public company. It also has a contract to build 100,000 electric delivery vans by 2025 for Amazon.com, which has a 20% stake in Rivian.
Back in December, Scaring attributed production challenges to global supply-chain constraints, the COVID-19 pandemic, a tight labor market and short-term issues surrounding manufacturing electric battery modules.
Scaring said Thursday that Rivian was building a pilot line for in-house production of battery cell production and also plans to co-invest with a supplier on production. Rivian’s cells are currently supplied by Samsung SDI. He also said automakers would need to work on securing critical battery materials such as lithium and nickel.
“It’s not an option. It’s a necessity,” he said.