Rivian — the electric carmaker about to hit the market — raised $700 million

Rivian will start trading today, ending a frenzy of excitement among its small but fervent fan base.

On Tuesday, Rivian — a high-tech electric carmaker — launched an initial public offering after raising nearly $700 million at $19 a share in an offering that valued the company at nearly $70 billion.

For comparison, Tesla, one of the most valuable US automakers, is worth about $43 billion.

However, the market reaction has been less than euphoric. Shares fell 4% in after-hours trading Tuesday night, after a big drop Monday.

And interest in Rivian has been largely limited to a small group of power plant investors. A few startups around the country have also raised huge amounts of cash for electric vehicles that currently are not commercialized. But none of those startups, like Rivian, has tried to offer customers a self-driving electric vehicle.

Fellow electric carmakers Tesla, Tesla Inc., Ford Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have not announced plans to launch self-driving or self-driving vehicles in the next couple of years.

Rivian announced the second-generation Rivian EV in September, building a vehicle that will have a top speed of 125 miles per hour and more than 600 miles of range. In particular, it has been touting the way that the battery system for the Rivian vehicle can generate power to charge the vehicle at high speeds, as well as the sensors, such as radars and cameras, that track the vehicle’s position and autonomously drive itself.

The Rivian EV will not have Tesla-type attention grabbing features. The company is focusing on vehicles that make sense for its target audience: the power plant sector, which includes many investors in the IPO.

But Rivian also does have a couple of potentially useful features, including the ability to recharge the vehicle’s battery using solar power.

There are some other companies developing self-driving electric vehicles that also involve power plants. But none of those companies has also targeted the power plant space for a self-driving car.

Self-driving electric vehicle tech start-ups AVX Corp., Zoox Inc., Feral Robotics Inc. and Nanotrike Inc. have not announced whether they plan to enter the automobile business.

Other high-tech cars have entered the electric vehicle market. General Motors’ Cruise has started selling electric cars that can be fully self-driving within a couple of years. And Ford also recently has said it is planning to launch an electric vehicle.

So far, companies have also focused on purely electric vehicles.

Rivian has said it plans to build a fleet of vehicles for fleet sales and service around the world. It plans to begin selling the electric vehicles in 2021.

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