Rivian is starting to shed its vaporware status by getting actual trucks to customers

Rivian’s promise to upend the auto industry with beautifully designed emissions-free, adventure-themed trucks and SUVs was almost dependent on the company’s ability to deliver actual vehicles to actual customers. And, in that respect, Rivian is getting slightly better.

The company announced that it had produced 4,401 vehicles during the second quarter of 2022, a 72 percent increase over the previous quarter. It also delivered 4,467 vehicles to customers, a 267 percent increase over the first quarter. How many of those vehicles were R1T electric trucks and how many were its electric delivery vans (EDV) for Amazon, we can’t say — Rivian didn’t provide a breakdown.

The company hasn’t said when it will report its Q2 earnings, but there will likely be a lot more red ink. Last quarter, Rivian reported a net loss of $1.59 billion based on $95 million in revenue.

The company will still need to churn out 18,046 vehicles over the next eight months if it’s to meet its goal of 25,000 built this year, or roughly 9,023 vehicles per quarter. That will be no small task but is certainly within the realm of possibility. During the last earnings call, Rivian said that it has more than 90,000 reservations for the R1T and R1S vehicles.

The production news comes as the media got its first impressions of its forthcoming R1S SUV, further burnishing Rivian’s efforts to become a real company. Unsurprisingly, everyone seems to like it.

But making expertly designed electric vehicles with impressive software and delightful features has never really been in question. Building enough of those vehicles to justify its eye-popping IPO valuation and then getting them into customers’ driveways is Rivian’s main challenge and has contributed to the impression that the company may have bitten off more than it can chew.

Rivian went public last fall in one of the biggest IPOs ever, but the stock price has fallen nearly 70 percent since the IPO. The company said it would be cleaving its commercial division from its truck and SUV production in an effort to overcome its many hurdles.