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Newsletter | Tesla vs Rivian legal battle – 🦸‍♂️🔋 The BattMan is real

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The EV Universe will turn 1 in two weeks.

Not Elon two weeks... the real calendar ones.

I sent the very first newsletter out on the 21st of October 2020, titled "🪐 All eyes on us. #1"  to 82 subscribers.

It's been a fun frunkin' ride since then and I couldn't be happier. We've grown to 1,399 readers that are EV owners, industry leaders, or EV enthusiasts. Or a little bit of each, like myself.

It's a good milestone to announce the next step in the evolution of the EV Universe. In two weeks, I'll present you the EV Universe ecosystem, a new home for all of our resources, and a proper community.

We all know the FB thing for our community didn't work out well. The new one will be about... 100x better. We'll also launch a paid membership so we could grow the quality of this little Universe here. But more on that on the launch.

This weekly newsletter here will remain free forever. If anything, it'll improve over time.

For now, allow me to go back to my cave and continue building out our magnificent new home. I hope you'll enjoy this week's Jaan-deemed-this-stuff-noteworthy roundup below.

- Jaan


The (Koch) Empire Strikes Back

...actually it's the other way around, but I had to get that reference off of my chest.

Blue Oval City

Is the Koch empire changing directions?

Li-Cycle, the battery ♻️ company from Canada, received a $100M investment from the Koch Strategic Platforms. (link)

This rang some alarm chimes in my head - where does this connect?

Ah yeah 💡,  this is the subsidiary of Koch Industries... run by the Koch Brothers, the very ones trying hard to kill the modern-day EV revolution. Is this one of the signs of the "if you can't fight them, join them" for the Koch Industries gigacorporation? I just found out they've also invested in battery makers Microvast, Solid Power, and Freyr.

Looks like I'll have to map this impact - if you know more, let me know.


Will Jaan ever stop talking about Rivian?

Short answer? Nope.

Rivian has filed its S-1 in preparation for its IPO which should happen within this year. You can see the complete filing here (link).

It'll take me time to work the whole thing through, so I'll give you what I found a rather good take from Techcrunch (link) with a little flavor and summarization of my own. It's not that often that we can look so directly into the heart of an EV company.

1. Operating results - it ain't cheap to build.

The company has been investing heavily into getting the new electric trucks to market - the net losses were $426M in 2019 and $1B in 2020, while the first part of 2021 saw $994M in a net loss.

Most of it is filed under "R&D", which makes sense when trying to get the prototypes and production off the ground.

The sheer scale of these investments that are needed to build a proper EV company is what makes me think twice about the latest SPAC-craze and the huge plans of most new EV-startups.

2. Market estimates are bullshit.

They said it, not me! I agree, though. As a standard practice in the industry, the calculations for Total Addressable Market (TAM) get way out of hand trying to please the (potential) investors. Rivian estimates a total of $9 Trillion TAM through its consumer and commercial businesses.

3. Every self-respecting EV company has loads of revenue sources

Rivian calls it The Rivian Ecosystem, an end-to-end integration across a range of complementary offerings. Here's a rather self-explaining image from the filing.

Ecosystem

Will it be able to boost its revenue from these or not, only future will tell.

/ sidenote: Reilly from Trucks.vc found another good tidbit: it appears Ford no longer holds a seat on Rivian's board of directors.


Tesla vs Rivian

Something that might shadow the IPO a bit is the ongoing lawsuit of Tesla vs Rivian that started last year. Tesla claims that Rivian stole trade secrets about employee recruitment networks and HR departments via the four former Tesla employees that had moved from Tesla to Rivian. (link)

Soon after, Rivian fired back at Tesla with a lawsuit accusing it of attempting to malign Rivian's reputation by making allegations without sufficient proof. (link) Rivian said it has "rigorous policies and procedures to make sure it does not obtain confidential information from other companies when on-boarding employees." Now, about a year later, Tesla is claiming that some employees that migrated to Rivian were caught redhanded, stealing "core technology for its next-generation batteries". A California state court judge in San Jose now decided to allow Tesla to add its new allegations to the pending case, expanding the lawsuit scope. (link)

As I have no real clue if all of this is true or not, I sure hope it isn't. We cannot allow foul play when dealing with such an industry-transforming move. In any case, this situation is definitely a lose-lose. I haven't found an official statement from Rivian about the latest claims.

What I did find distasteful, is the claimed Tesla comment on the latest lawsuit (link): "Now, apparently under pressure from investors after nearly a dozen years without producing a single commercial vehicle, Rivian has intensified its unlawful efforts.”

Here's the last year's 24-page court document filings of the Tesla Inc v. Rivian Automotive (link), if you want to dig deeper.


⚡ The Not-so-Znippets

...yeah, I got to work on how to write shorter. Next time, I promise.

  • Follow-up on our last week's British gas-panic story (ICYMI, it's here).

    Alex, the Tesla owner from the UK we got insight from last time, said the situation has normalized a lot, with only short queues left in the stations. Almost back to normal. Doesn't change the underlying problem of truck driver shortage though.

    He also directed my attention to something great: Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling car in the UK in September. This is not a typo. Not just the best-selling EV. It sold more than any car model, of any fuel type (link):
SMMT

Some of the success might be attributed to the Benefit in Kind tax law that essentially reduces tax for EVs as company cars and can save ~$300/month in tax for employees comparing to an ICE vehicle.

I'll be looking at the BiK tax more closely as I'm putting together the worldwide incentive list for EVs.

Thanks again Alex, for bringing us some of that good electron juice from the UK!

  • Tesla delivered 241,300 (and built 237,823) EVs in Q3, a huge record, especially in the global chip shortage terms. (link)

    That makes a 98.7% increase in the Q1-Q3 compared to last year with 632.5k vs 318k deliveries.

    Tesla's 2021 Annual Meeting is live right now as I'm sending this out to you. You'll find the livestream (here) and the shareholder questions (here). So far, the first question on top out of 4,087 is:
Q from Tesla Shareholder
  • Tesla has to shell out $137M to an ex-worker in a racial abuse lawsuit. (link) Here's Tesla's response to the lawsuit in their blog (link). I will not leave my comment on this.
  • Lucid Motors kicked off production of the Lucid Air in the AMP-1 factory last week. Here's their recap of the highlights:
  • In case you're not a reader of our EV Industry²  yet, you should still know this: Foxconn is buying Lordstown Motors’ Ohio EV factory for $230 million and agreed to build the electric pickup truck at the plant. Lordstown would remain a tenant there. Another $50M comes in from the sale of equity to Foxconn (link).
    Here's the link to last week's issue of the ² : (link)
  • Volvo Cars plans to list on the Stockholm stock exchange already before the end of 2021. Hoping to raise €2.5B ($2.89B), its parent company Geely wants to remain the largest shareholder.

    I'll link Volvo's IPO intention documents here, but it seems they strongly don't want it to be released in the US, Australia, Canada, or Japan. Probably because of some weird securities laws. So if you're not of those countries, enter here (link). If you are, I can't stop you from seeing other articles covering it, like this one (here).

    Volvo wants to be 100% electric by 2030. Its parent company, Geely, owns 50% of EV-maker Polestar while Volvo Cars owns the other 50%. Polestar is going public via a SPAC merger with $GGPI. This messes up my brain wirings, so this visual from our Map might help a bit:
Map of the EV Universe on Volvo

  • 🦸‍♂️🔋 The BattMan is real! Kind of. VW launched an analysis software called BattMan ReLife for batteries which will determine if the battery can be re-used, used in second-life applications or sent to recycling. (link).

    Well, this kind of spoils my "what you call a man dressing up as a battery on Halloween" joke.
BattMan
Nananana nananana nananana nananana BattMaaaaaan
  • Genesis GV60, the new electric model from the Hyundai subsidiary. It'll run on the e-GMP 800-V platform and the 77.4kWh battery claims to have a 280mi range (451km). It does have quite the specs, like the 350kW fast charging capabilities. Here's the world premiere: (video) and press release: (link).
Genesis GV60
  • A group of non-US automakers - Toyota, VW, Hyundai, Nissan, Honda, BMW, Mazda, Daimler, Subaru, and Volvo - urged the U.S. House of Representatives Democrats to reject the proposed $4,500 tax incentive for U.S-made EVs by union workers, saying it's unfair. (link)

    And I agree. All of this union-preference looks so iffy to me as someone not from the US. Am I not getting something or is this just the hardcore lobby from Ford, GM, and Stellantis?
  • First production Kia EV6's are popping up around Europe. Here's an unlisted YT video of some of 'em unloading from a ship in Drammen, Norway (video). And he pictures from Daniel, an Electrive writer from Germany:

I'm rather excited about this one, can't wait to try this EV out.


🗯️ Watch This:

NIO ES8 Norway Launch Press Conference. Some cool views of the Nio House | Oslo too. I'm always surprised how much Nio tries to be a lifestyle brand, not just a car manufacturer. Here's the press release (link).

The Tesla Annual Shareholder Meeting of 2021 live stream

I also found an ad of the EV1, aired on TV in 1996


📚 THE RESOURCE CENTER:

🗺️ Map of the EV Universe with 678 mapped connections and changelog,
📈 EV Stock Tracker with 118 EV stocks. So many SPACs have grown up...
🗯️ EV Universe Twitter with 1,613 I-make-myself-chuckle EV tweets,
📚 EV industry² newsletter OPT-IN for the extra-detailed EV juice.
📗 EV Universe Blog with 100+ past articles & newsletters.
🎙️ The EV Universe Pod with 2 podcast episodes.
📹 EV Universe Youtube channel with 7 videos.


🗯️ The Quote

Jim and Mach-E

Jim Farley, Ford Motor Co.’s president & CEO hit it right where it hurts (link):

„Average people cannot afford these vehicles [EVs] and we have a lot of work to do to make them more affordable... That’s the one that keeps me up at night. [...] Making electrical vehicles affordable should be among the top priorities for automakers so that the average vehicle-buyer can purchase one"

🙈 My kind of Joke:

A tax on sidewalks.

This sounds absurd, doesn't it?

"After all, who would tax you for using something that puts less exhaust in the air, contributes to wellness, and lowers the health care costs we’ll pay today and tomorrow… all while fighting climate change?"

Well, The Government of Saskatchewan, Canada started to tax the EVs on October 1st. (link)

This group of EV owners is fighting back by saying the government should delay the tax until there are more EVs than just the 600 currently on the road.

Group

So they came up with this initiative to raise awareness. There are ways to contribute on the website for locals (link). Here are some of the visuals from Twitter. Everyone knows I like a good pun!


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