EV batteries are essentially the fuel of the future. Automakers are promising to move away from internal combustion engines; thus, battery power is the most critical aspect of any EV available now or in the future. Having as much control as possible over batteries is extremely important.
Amazon-backed EV truck start-up Rivian is already making moves to ensure complete control over the quality of EV batteries that go into their trucks.
Rivian plans in-house production for EV batteries
Currently, Rivian sources batteries for its R1T truck and upcoming R1S SUV from Samsung SDI. However, according to a report from Reuters, Rivan’s upcoming IPO revealed that the company is looking to bring battery production in-house.
It seems that Rivian will not solely rely on in-house production for its EV batteries, but it will instead supplement its supply from Samsung SDI. The IPO states that the in-house EV batteries would “complement third-party cell procurement, which will provide supply continuity and support our anticipated growth.”
“Given the paramount importance and impact of the battery system on vehicle range, performance, and price, we have built in-house capabilities across the entire value chain,” said Rivian. The company also stated that they are allocating resources to battery manufacturing expertise, battery cell development, and raw materials sourcing.
Despite continuing its supply relationship with Samsung SDI, Rivian is making it clear that it is laying the groundwork to become completely independent when it comes to EV battery production. As Rivian production scales up, the company will rely less on EV batteries from third-party suppliers.
“Over time, we intend to expand our capabilities related to proprietary cell development and in-house cell manufacturing and expect that these functions will grow substantially in the coming years,” said the automaker.
In the meantime, the Reuters report stated that Samsung SDI is looking to build a battery production facility in central Illinois, close to the Rivian plant, likely to make the supply chain more efficient.
Tesla might stop Rivian from producing their own EV batteries.
With Tesla at the forefront of the EV market, it has the resources and clout to severely hamper any competitors before becoming a real threat to its profits. Recently, Tesla escalated a lawsuit against Rivian, claiming that the EV truck builder stole proprietary regarding Tesla’s battery technology.
The suit alleges that Rivian violated the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, among other infractions such as breach of contract. Tesla also believes that Rivian purposefully poached employees that had access to Tesla’s proprietary battery information. Rivian continued to hire former Tesla employees even after the suit was filed.
If Rivian loses this lawsuit and it is found that it has illegally obtained information from Tesla that it is using to produce its own EV batteries, it can throw a wrench into the plans that Rivian detailed in their IPO.
If things do not go their way, Rivian’s quest to produce their own batteries may end before it even got started.