Amazon ponies up $700M to back electric truck startup Rivian

Rivian reports that its R1T will go from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds. A $500 investment from Ford led to a partnership and goal to produce an EV using Rivian’s platform.
Rivian reports that its R1T will go from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds. A $500 investment from Ford led to a partnership and goal to produce an EV using Rivian’s platform.

Rivian announced an equity investment round of $700 million led by online retail giant Amazon. The investment comes on the heels of Rivian’s reveal of the all-electric R1T pickup and R1S SUV at the LA Auto Show last November.

The company’s launch products, the R1T and R1S, deliver up to 400+ miles of range and aim to provide an unmatched combination of performance, off-road capability and utility. The vehicles use the company’s versatile skateboard platform and will be produced at Rivian’s manufacturing plant in Normal, Ill., with customer deliveries expected to start in late 2020.

“This investment is an important milestone for Rivian and the shift to sustainable mobility,” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian Founder and CEO. “Beyond simply eliminating compromises that exist around performance, capability and efficiency, we are working to drive innovation across the entire customer experience. Delivering on this vision requires the right partners, and we are excited to have Amazon with us on our journey to create products, technology and experiences that reset expectations of what is possible.”

Reuters reported earlier this week that both Amazon and GM had been in investment talks with Rivian. However Fox News Autos reported that GM confirmed today that is not investing in the startup.

“We admire Rivian’s contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric future,” GM told Hard Working Trucks today after being asked if they would be financially backing Rivian.

Amazon’s interest in Rivian may hinge on delivery vans. Late last year at the LA Auto Show, Rivian’s engineering director Mark Vinnels told Hard Working Trucks that the skateboard platform design of the EV chassis supporting Rivian’s R1T and R1S could be also be used for a van.

Amazon is no stranger to commercial EVs. Last summer, Mercedes-Benz announced that the web retail giant would be acquiring 100 all-electric eVitos delivery vans for use in Germany.

“We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation,” Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer, said about the company’s investment. “RJ has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We’re thrilled to invest in such an innovative company.”

Rivian will remain an independent company. Amazon is leading the round, which includes participation from existing shareholders.