Tesla’s EV Rivals Post Record Losses Amid a Bleak Economy and a Price War

Despite massive losses, Rivian is the only EV maker with good news this quarter.

Two Rivian trucks on the street of New York.
Rivian reported quarterly earnings today (May 9) after the market close. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

It’s challenging time to run a startup in a capital-intensive industry like electric vehicle manufacturing. High interest rates, a funding drought, and a price war started by Tesla make it difficult for EV makers to fund operations and grow sales. This week, several publicly traded EV makers reported quarterly earnings, offering a first look at exactly how bad business is in 2023 so far.

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Lucid reported earnings yesterday (May 8) after the market close. Nikola and Fisker reported this morning, Rivian reported today after the market close.

Lucid: Losses widen, sales growth slows

Earnings: Lost $780 million, or $0.43 per share. Revenue came at roughly $149 million, well below analyst estimates.

Delivery: Made 2,314 vehicles and delivered 1,406 in the first quarter.

Cash position: Lucid had about $3.4 billion in cash at the end of March, enough to fund the company through the first half of 2024, said CFO Sherry House.

Lucid’s first-quarter sales were up 159 percent from a year ago. But the growth is far from enough to offset costs and justify its stock price. Lucid, which went public in July 2021, is currently valued at $14 billion. Investors were counting on the money-losing startup to grow at an exponential rate to support its lofty valuation.

The company aims to make more than 10,000 electric cars this year. The number is at the bottom edge of its previously stated production goal of 10,000 and 14,000.

On an earnings call today, CEO Peter Rawlinson touted Lucid’s success in raising brand awareness among potential buyers. “We’re seeing some early wins. The number of test drives has nearly doubled in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of last year,” Rawlinson told analysts.

Lucid shares fell more than 5 percent today.

Nikola: Cash running low, global ambition stalls

Earnings: Lost $169 million, or $0.26 per share. Revenue came just above $11 million, in line with analyst estimates.

Delivery: Made 63 electric trucks and delivered 31 in the first quarter.

Cash position: Nikola had $121.1 million at the end of March, down from $233.4 million at the end of 2022.

Amid a cash crunch, Nikola announced today it’s exiting a European joint venture with Italian truck maker Iveco Group to refocus on its North American market, said CEO Michael Lohscheller.

Nikola shares fell 15 percent today after the earnings release.

Nikola makes both battery-electric trucks and trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells, a controversial technology in the EV industry. Nikola aims to deliver 250 to 350 all-electric trucks and 125 to 150 hydrogen fuel-cell trucks in 2023. Production of the fuel-cell trucks is expected to begin in the second half of this year.

Fisker: Revenue came below $200,000

Earnings: Lost $121 million, or $0.38 per share, on just $198,000 in revenue.

Delivery: Zero.

Cash position: Fisker had $652 million in cash at the end of March, down from $737 million at the end of 2022.

Fisker began delivering its Ocean SUV to customers in Europe last week and expects to deliver its first cars in the U.S. later this month, pending regulatory approval, said founder and CEO Henrik Fisker.

The company said it has about 65,000 reservations for Ocean and more than 6,000 reservations for its upcoming EV called the Pear. However, the Pear won’t begin production until 2025.

Fisker expects its manufacturing partner, Canada’s Magna International, to build between 32,000 and 36,000 Ocean vehicles this year. It previously targeted an annual production of 42,400 vehicles. This year, Fisker aims to build 1,400 to 1,700 Ocean vehicles in the second quarter and ramp up production to 6,000 vehicles per month before the end of this year.

Fisker shares fell 14 percent today.

Rivian: Loss narrowing, on track to meet production goal

Earnings: Lost $1.35 billion, or $1.25 per share. Revenue came at $661 million, better than analyst estimates.

Delivery: Made 9,395 EVs and delivered 7,946 in the first quarter.

Cash position: Rivian had $11.8 billion in cash at the end of March, down from $12.1 billion at the end of 2022.

Despite massive losses, Rivian is the only EV maker with some good news today. Quarterly losses narrowed from last year, thanks to cost reduction including layoffs. The company said it’s on track to meet its full-year production target of 50,000 vehicles.

“Our core priorities for 2023 are unchanged,” CEO RJ Scaringe said in a statement today. “The team remains focused on ramping production, driving cost reductions, developing the R2 platform and future technologies and delivering an outstanding end-to-end customer experience.”

Rivian’s R2 platform is a manufacturing platform for a series of future EVs that are more affordable than its R1T pickup, which starts at $73,000.

Tesla’s EV Rivals Post Record Losses Amid a Bleak Economy and a Price War