For more crisp and insightful business and economic news, subscribe to The Daily Upside newsletter. It's completely free and we guarantee you'll learn something new every day.

The electric vehicle market is about to get a big jolt. A much-hyped EV company backed by Amazon and Ford just filed to go public at an $80-billion valuation.

Rivian, which plans to deliver its first vehicles next month, will immediately become a leading Tesla competitor, diversifying a new frontier in the American EV market: pickup trucks.

Pickup Wars

Carmakers are in a heated race to roll out electric vehicles as the emissions goals set by China, Europe, and the U.S. will by and large squeeze out traditional gas-powered engines in the coming decades.

But Rivian's electric pickup truck will pit the start-up in a unique battle with Ford (one of Rivian's own investors) for America's automotive soul — the iconic, gas-powered Ford F-150 pickup has long been America's best-selling vehicle and in 2020, Americans bought more pickup trucks than cars for the first time ever:

  • Rivian, which has raised $10.5 billion and is planning a new $5-billion Texas plant, could have the first-mover advantage against rivals, with its initial electric pickups scheduled for release in the coming weeks.
  • Meanwhile, GMC's electric Hummer pickup is slated for release by the end of this year and Ford's electric F-150 by spring 2022. Tesla's Cybertruck, initially scheduled to launch this year, has been plagued by delays and won't debut until at least next year.

While Tesla is far and away the world's most valuable EV manufacturer, investors have shown plenty of confidence in the broader sector. Lucid Motors, which went public last month and hasn't delivered a single car yet, is already worth $34 billion. That's roughly half of General Motors, which turned 100 years old back in 2008.

A Shocking Development: Not to be outdone in the news cycle, Tesla forged new ground this weekend, filing to begin directly selling electricity in Texas. Plans are murky so far, but the company has growing business lines in both solar panels and battery units.