Amazon leads $700 million investment round in EV startup Rivian

The electric car company Rivian announced a $700 million investment round led by Amazon. The round also included participation from existing shareholders.

Michigan based Rivian recent unveiled its first two products at the LA Auto Show in November last year: the R1T electric five-passenger pickup truck and the R1S electric seven-passenger SUV.

The two vehicles, which deliver up to 400+ miles of range, will initially feature 180 kilowatt-hour battery packs. Customer deliveries are expected to start in late 2020.

Rivian said in a press release that it will remain an independent company.

R1T pickup at the 2018 LA Auto Show. Photo by Richard Truesdell [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“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.”

Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer, said: “We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation. 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 has raised a total of about $1.5 billion to date.

Reports circulated earlier this week that both Amazon and General Motors Co. were planning to take minority stakes in Rivian. According to The Detroit News, a person familiar with negotiations said that talks between GM and Rivian are still ongoing.

The announcement comes after news last week that Amazon was part of a large group of investors that raised a little over half a billion dollars ($530 million) for Aurora Innovation, an autonomous vehicle technology startup led by the former head of Waymo. A startup is a new or young company that attracts the attention of large corporations and venture capitalists.

Amazon’s recent push into electrified and autonomous mobility ties in with the e-commerce giant’s aim of reinventing its delivery fleet.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that Amazon is hoping that Rivian will help it with development of delivery vehicles that will bolster its logistics network.

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