RIVN Stock: Tesla Charging News Doesn’t Change the Story

The latest news out of Rivian Automotive (NASDAQ:RIVN) has resulted in a modest boost for RIVN stock in recent trading days.

As InvestorPlace’s William White put it, the electric vehicle upstart is jumping on the Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) charging bandwagon.

Rivian now plans to enable its vehicles to be charged at Tesla’s extensive network of EV charging stations. The EV maker plans to add Tesla charging ports to its vehicles by 2025, offering adapters to existing customers in the meantime.

Although at first this sounds like something that could help strengthen demand for Rivian’s electric pickup trucks and vans, just as it ramps up production, you don’t have to dig too deep to determine that this development cannot change the story here.

Instead, existing issues are likely to persist, with a high chance of further disappointment down the road.

RIVN Rivian Automotive $14.62

RIVN Stock, Tesla, and the Market’s Overreaction

Yes, news of Rivian joining Tesla’s charging standard sounds like a win-win for all parties. Access to the Tesla network makes charging more convenient for existing Rivian vehicle owners, and could in theory help to improve demand. Tesla of course, benefits from having an additional revenue stream (charging of third-party vehicles).

Tesla’s latest monetization gambit brings us to the key reason this news does nothing to improve the RIVN stock bull case.

Rivian isn’t the only non-Tesla EV maker joining this charging network. In fact, it’s not even the first non-Tesla EV brand to announce making its vehicles network-compatible, as I hinted above.

Instead, Rivian is following the lead of incumbent automakers. A few weeks back, both Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) made similar deals with Tesla. In short, Rivian receives nothing in terms of a competitive advantage from making its vehicles compatible with Tesla’s chargers.

As I’ve argued in past coverage, the threat of competition keeps rising, from both Tesla and the incumbents. With this, plus other headwinds in mind, it’s clear that the market (by sending RIVN a few points higher) has overreacted to this news.

Many Issues Have Not Yet Gone Away

The investor overreaction with RIVN stock following the charging news makes some sense. The market is likely happy to see some news out of the company that isn’t negative.

Yet while the company has announced this “not bad” news, keep in mind that many issues with the company have not gone away.

For one, demand for Rivian vehicles appears to be softening. At least, that’s a reasonable takeaway, from recent news of the company holding a factory sales event. While not for certain, this could be a sign that Rivian’s order backlog (which it no longer reports) has declined.

The possibility of falling demand calls into question whether Rivian’s ramp-up will result in a big jump in sales/move to profitability. The aforementioned rising competition could also affect future sales growth. This helps to keep cash burn concerns elevated.

Reporting around $1.5 billion in negative operating cash flow last quarter, Rivian may be less than two years away from depleting its current war chest ($11.2 billion). Unless operating performance improves, chances are the company will need to raise additional financing, on terms dilutive to existing shareholders.

Bottom Line: Keep Steering Clear

Rivian’s Tesla news may make for interesting headlines, yet when you get down to it, this development cannot add anything to the RIVN bull case. That’s not to say it adds to the bear case.

But by doing little to ease the myriad of issues affecting the company, there’s no reason to regard this development as a reason to buy. Although it may be enough to keep shares steady, or perhaps move them higher, in the immediate-term, pessimism could soon re-emerge with this stock.

For instance, in early August, Rivian holds its next earnings release. Headwinds like dampening demand and rising competition likely aren’t going anyway anytime soon. With this, management could disappoint with the latest results and guidance.

To avoid “holding the bag” after earnings by following the market’s misguided optimism today, keep steering clear of RIVN stock.

RIVN stock earns a D rating in Portfolio Grader.

On the date of publication, Louis Navellier did not have (either directly or indirectly) any other positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

The InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

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