EV Q3 Deliveries: Is Rivian Eating Tesla's Lunch?

EV Q3 Deliveries: Is Rivian Eating Tesla’s Lunch?

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Tesla and Rivian have both released their third-quarter 2023 EV production and delivery reports. One of them, Rivian, exceeded expectations and raised its production guidance. The other, Tesla, saw a significant QoQ drop in its Q3 deliveries, missed expectations, and fought through a series of headwinds this quarter. Let’s break down the numbers in this David vs. Goliath matchup of electric vehicle companies. 

Tesla Q3 Deliveries: 435,059 Delivered vs 461,640 Expected

In Q3 2023, Tesla delivered 435,059 vehicles and produced 430,488 vehicles, reflecting a decrease from the previous quarter due to planned factory shutdowns for upgrades. This is something telegraphed by Musk during the second quarter earnings call. Despite this decline, Tesla maintains its 2023 volume target of approximately 1.8 million vehicles, as previously stated by CEO Elon Musk. 

Additionally, it’s worth noting that this is still a 26% increase year over year in Q3 Tesla deliveries, and it still represents the second highest quarterly delivery in Tesla’s history. As it stands, Tesla has now delivered more vehicles over the past three quarters than it did during the entirety of 2022 (measured in thousands: 1,313.86 vs 1,324.08). Here’s where Tesla’s deliveries stood prior to this quarter, from 2016 to present (measured in thousands):

Tesla Q3 Deliveries
Rivian Q3 Deliveries
Electric vehicle production reports
Tesla vs. Rivian comparison
EV industry updates
Tesla production targets
Rivian production growth
Elon Musk's Tesla goals
EV market trends
Quarterly vehicle deliveries
EV market competition
Tesla stock performance
Rivian's production records
Enduro powertrain in-house production
EV adoption rates
David vs. Goliath in the EV industry
Electric vehicle market analysis
Tesla's historical deliveries
Rivian's delivery performance
Future of electric vehicle companies

Source: Statista

Following this announcement, Tesla’s stock experienced a -3.7% drop in premarket trading, though it pared back much of those losses during early trading, and is currently trading at just -0.22% on the day. Analysts on Wall Street had anticipated Tesla to deliver around 461,640 vehicles for the period ending on September 30, based on consensus estimates — however the range was extremely wide this quarter.

It’s worth noting that Tesla did not disclose production or delivery numbers for its Semi, a class 8 electric truck, although it did deliver some units to an early customer, PepsiCo. Additionally, Tesla reduced prices on its inventory vehicles and existing models during the third quarter.

Furthermore, Tesla introduced an updated version of its Model 3 sedan called the “Highland,” featuring new exterior and interior features, including touchscreen displays for rear seat passengers and ventilated seats. The vehicle offers a long-range battery option with a range of about 390 miles per charge.

If Musk and Tesla’s full-year delivery guidance remains in tact, that means Tesla expects to break yet another delivery record in the fourth quarter with roughly 475,920 vehicle deliveries. 

Rivian Q3 Deliveries: 15,564 Delivered vs 14,740 Expected

After a standout second quarter which included a +183% increase in vehicle deliveries year over year (and its best quarter to date), Rivian had big shoes to fill with its Q3 deliveries. They did not disappoint Wall Street.

Rivian delivered 15,564 in the third quarter, compared with analyst estimates of 14,740 — another record for the small EV company. It also set another production record, producing 16,304 vehicles in Q3, compared with 13,992 in the second quarter. 

Additionally, Rivian increased its yearly production guidance from 50,000 to 52,000. And while Tesla has cut costs of its EVs, dragging the average price of electric vehicles significantly lower over the past year, Rivian has taken a different approach: Cutting costs and building a core piece of its EVs, the Enduro powertrain, in-house.

Prior to Q3, here’s where Rivian’s delivery numbers stood, measured in totality (not in thousands, like Tesla’s above):

Tesla Q3 Deliveries
Rivian Q3 Deliveries
Electric vehicle production reports
Tesla vs. Rivian comparison
EV industry updates
Tesla production targets
Rivian production growth
Elon Musk's Tesla goals
EV market trends
Quarterly vehicle deliveries
EV market competition
Tesla stock performance
Rivian's production records
Enduro powertrain in-house production
EV adoption rates
David vs. Goliath in the EV industry
Electric vehicle market analysis
Tesla's historical deliveries
Rivian's delivery performance
Future of electric vehicle companies

Source: InsideEVs

Rivian Vs. Tesla: Can David Defeat Goliath?

In short, if that is to happen, it’s going to take a lot more quarters like this one.

As a comparison, that puts Rivian below Tesla’s 2016 numbers, however it’s worth noting that Tesla began delivering vehicles back in 2008 — and its numbers were significantly lower during its early years as a company. With that said, EV adoption as a whole was nowhere near where it is today at that time. Moreover, outside of this quarter, both EV companies have managed to set and surpass records for themselves in quarterly deliveries. And based on company estimates, they both expect that trend to continue into the future.

So, can Rivian eat Tesla’s EV lunch? Can David defeat Goliath?

From a stock market perspective, in 2023, investors have chosen their clear victor in this fight — hopes are high, but as it stands, it’s a “show me” story for Rivian.

Tesla Q3 Deliveries
Rivian Q3 Deliveries
Electric vehicle production reports
Tesla vs. Rivian comparison
EV industry updates
Tesla production targets
Rivian production growth
Elon Musk's Tesla goals
EV market trends
Quarterly vehicle deliveries
EV market competition
Tesla stock performance
Rivian's production records
Enduro powertrain in-house production
EV adoption rates
David vs. Goliath in the EV industry
Electric vehicle market analysis
Tesla's historical deliveries
Rivian's delivery performance
Future of electric vehicle companies
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