Electric car company startup Rivian says that its pickup truck, the R1T and its seven-passenger SUV, the R1S, will be able to drive through three feet of water. Credit: Courtesy Rivian.

“Electric adventure vehicle” maker Rivian, a startup which is being backed by Amazon and Ford, is eyeing an IPO of US$80 billion — a valuation that would make the Bloomington-Normal, Illinois-based company worth more than Ford and GM, each.

According to CNN Business, the company, which has positioned itself as an outdoorsy brand, has said that its pickup truck, the R1T and its seven-passenger SUV, the R1S, will be able to drive through a meter of water.

Rivian is perhaps the leading contender of a group of electric vehicle startups that could challenge Tesla and incumbent automakers. It has already received an order for 100,000 delivery vans from Amazon, some of which are making deliveries in the US already.

Rivian said in a statement that the size and price range of the proposed offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission have yet to be determined, but its expected to happen around US Thanksgiving.

“As we near the start of vehicle production, it’s vital that we keep looking forward and pushing through to Rivian’s next phase of growth,” Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said in a statement.

“This infusion of funds … allows Rivian to scale new vehicle programs, expand our domestic facility footprint, and fuel international product rollout,” he added.

The announcement came the day after the California-based company said it was exploring building a second US assembly plant.

Reuters, citing unnamed sources, reported on Thursday that Rivian’s planned plant, dubbed “Project Tera,” will include battery cell production.

Like the R1T, the R1S boasts a beautifully designed cabin with contemporary styling, fancy leather, wood trim, and two large displays—one for infotainment and one for the driver’s gauge display. Credit: Courtesy Rivian.

Scaringe told reporters last November that Rivian planned to follow the initial three vehicles with smaller models targeted at China and Europe where it may eventually build vehicles.

The company was founded in 2009 and has raised US$10.5 billion since 2019 amid increased interest in electric vehicles.

It’s also partnered with the foundation of climber Alex Honnold, who became the first human to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park solo without ropes.

The company says it’ll start delivering R1S models to customers in fall 2021.

It kicks off with a Launch Edition that starts at US$75,500, but a more affordable Explore trim level will soon join the lineup in 2022 alongside a more expensive Adventure model.

The R1S will be sold directly to consumers, although Rivian says that it also will set up a network of service centers and Tesla-like stores.

According to Car & Driver, the 2021 R1S will share its battery pack, powertrains, much of its styling, and many of its specs with its R1T pickup sibling.

Rivian will offer multiple roof styles including electrochromic glass (which turns from opaque to transparent on demand), a fixed glass panel, a two-piece removable composite roof and a standard fixed roof. Credit: Courtesy Rivian.

With up to 800-hp on tap, the R1S boasts a claimed zero-to-60-mph time of 3.0 seconds. The R1S has an electric motor at each wheel, giving it all-wheel drive and impressive off-road capability.

All models will ship with adjustable air suspension at launch and can vary their ground clearance from eight to 14.5 inches.

Rivian will eventually offer two different battery packs on the R1S, but the 2021 Launch Edition comes with a 135-kWh pack.

It says this pack should deliver around 300 miles of driving range. A larger, 180-kWh battery pack will be available as an option starting in 2022 and it will come with a claimed driving range of about 400 miles.

Like the R1T, the R1S boasts a beautifully designed cabin with contemporary styling, fancy leather, wood trim, and two large displays — one for infotainment and one for the driver’s gauge display.

A 12-cubic-foot front trunk, a large rear cargo area, a split tailgate, and a spacious-looking third row add to the utility of the R1S.

The 2021 Rivian R1S shares its battery pack, powertrains, much of its styling, and many of its specs with its R1T pickup sibling. With up to 800-hp on tap, the R1S boasts a claimed zero-to-60-mph time of 3.0 seconds. Credit: Courtesy Rivian.

Rivian is producing its first vehicles in its plant in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, CNN Business reported.

Area leaders have credited Rivian with helping to revitalize the area following Mitsubishi’s departure from the plant in 2015.

Last week, the company notified buyers it is delaying deliveries of the R1T pickup until September and the R1S SUV until later in the fall.

Scaringe blamed a number of pandemic-related issues, “from facility construction, to equipment installation, to vehicle component supply (especially semiconductors),” according to a letter sent to customers.

Sources: CNN Business, Bloomberg, Automotive News, Reuters, CNBC, Gear Patrol, Car & Driver