It's been at least a century since so many startups have tried to crack the code and enter the auto industry.
The arrival of viable electric powertrains, combined with consumers who are more accepting of the limitations of electric vehicles, has sparked unprecedented investment in new would-be automakers. And there has never been a better time for EV startups.
Proposed fuel economy rules announced this month by the Biden administration could make it far easier for new companies, such as Rivian, to reach profitability sooner. The credits Rivian would earn from sales of its electric pickup, SUV and commercial van could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars from competing legacy automakers that rely on gasoline- and diesel-powered pickups and SUVs for the bulk of their profits.
Selling EV credits was a substantial help in keeping Tesla alive during its lean years. And the race to become the next Tesla is on.
But like a century ago, some of the new auto companies may not get their first vehicles to market before running into technical troubles or running out of cash.