Rivian CEO Opens Up About EV Charging Deal With Tesla

Tesla's unique but vast EV charging network has attracted a growing cohort of carmakers to join. Rivian is just one of many.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said his company’s upcoming EV charging partnership with Tesla (TSLA) won’t change how Rivian customers’ payment information and data are processed, a question on analysts’ minds as a growing number of electric carmakers adopt Tesla’s unique charging standards.

RJ Scaringe
Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe. Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Rivian

“There’s not any data transfer built into the relationship,” Scaringe said on a call with analysts on August 8 after Rivian reported second-quarter earnings. “It’s a charging relationship whereby our customers will access the network and ultimately pay for the charging, and that will flow from us through to Tesla.”

Rivian in June announced a partnership with Tesla that will allow Rivian owners to charge their vehicles at more than 12,000 Tesla superchargers in the U.S. and Canada starting next year. Tesla uses a special plug known as the North American Charging Standard (NACS) that’s incompatible with the industry-standard Combined Charging System (CCS), but a growing cohort of EV makers have come to embrace Tesla’s standards in the hope that Tesla’s vast charger network will make their cars more appealing.

In May, Ford and General Motors were the first to sign similar charging deals with Tesla. Rivian, Polestar, Volvo and Mercedes Benz quickly followed suit. Under their agreements, Tesla’s partner EV makers will provide certain existing customers with an adapter to access Tesla superchargers starting in 2024 and install NACS charging ports in new EV models in 2025. Rivian is the first company to clarify what paying for the service entails.

The benefits of partnering with Tesla

Tesla is the only EV maker that has built a meaningfully large charging network. Its Superchargers account for about 60 percent of the total fast chargers available in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy. Most of Tesla’s competitors rely on third-party chargers due to the high cost of building their own.

Rivian said, in addition to the Tesla partnership, it will also continue building out its own fast-charging network called Rivian Adventure. The company has already built several hundred charging stations and plans to grow the network to more than 3,500 chargers in the U.S.

“That allows us, with our network, to access a very large car park with the existing Tesla car park that’s out there, which gives us much clearer visibility to profitability,” Scaringe told analysts yesterday.

In the second quarter, Rivian delivered 12,640 vehicles, up almost 300 percent from a year ago. The company produced 13,992 vehicles in the quarter, up from 4,401 last year. Quarterly revenue came in at $1.12 billion, better than analysts’ estimates. Rivian recorded a net loss just as big, at $1.2 billion, or $1.27 per share, down from $1.71 billion, or $1.89 per share, in 2022.

Carmakers that have joined Tesla’s charging network:

  • Ford
  • General Motors
  • Volvo Group
  • Mercedes Benz Group
  • Rivian
  • Polestar
  • Nissan
  • Aptera

Carmakers considering joining: 

  • Hyundai
  • Volkswagen Group, including VW, Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini
  • Lucid

Rivian CEO Opens Up About EV Charging Deal With Tesla