NIO ES8 EV SUV
You might be surprised at which EV industry startups are showing the most promise.
The electric vehicle segment has seen a push from several new startups in the automotive industry. Thus far, in the U.S. at least, only Tesla has moved from startup status to that of a consistent production automaker. We have seen continued reports of cash shortages and other speed bumps such that none of the current entrants are ready to truly move forward with mass production ... or any production for that matter.
Most EV industry startups are currently in the design stages of vehicle development. Most don't have a production facility, and most don't even have the funds to move forward very quickly. However, there are exceptions.
Lucid's Speed Car Group with 235 mph, all-electric Air
How can we forecast which may become a reality, and which are simply concepts that will end in vapor? NextMobility did some research to find out who is hiring and growing, and what each company's current status reveals.
The publication looked at hiring patterns and LinkedIn company insights of seven EV industry startups to give us a better idea. Included in the report are startups including Lucid Motors, Proterra, Karma Automotive, NIO, and Rivian Automotive. Of course, for purposes of comparison, Tesla is the another automaker cited.
NIO (formerly NextEV), an EV industry startup out of Shanghai, topped the list. The company has increased its employee base by an impressive 69 percent over the last year. NIO told NextMobility that they have over 350 U.S. employees. According to LinkedIn, NIO's global count is at 831.
Lucid Motors has cut five percent of its workers in the past year. But, the company is still actively hiring, with plans for production in 2018.
The most surprising entrant is Michigan-based Rivian Automotive. The company has been working for years under the radar, and recently purchased the former 2.4 million-square-foot production-ready Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois. Rivian only shows 113 employees, which is the lowest number of all those studied, but having a factory is huge. Rivian seems to be following in Tesla's footsteps with purchasing an already established and functional factory, as well as not making substantial, predictive press announcements before actual progress becomes measurable.
Rivian has increased its employee base by 28 percent over the last six months. The company has received local incentives and a wealth of support from the surrounding area. According to NextMobility, a third party review of Rivian's financial situation shows that the company has significant assets. Rivian plans to bring a vehicle to market by 2019.
Faraday Future is also included in the report, but even though it was just published 2 weeks ago, the news that Faraday is in deep financial trouble and has scuttled its plans to have its own production facility in Nevada on Monday pretty much disqualifies it from the list when it comes to new hirings and future growth...from the outside looking in, it now appears the head count might be going to zero.