Amazon will lead a $700-million investment round in EV startup Rivian Automotive. Also investing in this round is Rivian’s long-term investment partner, Saudi auto distributor Abdul Latif Jameel. Although it was reported earlier that GM was also in talks with Rivian, the automaker is not involved in this round.
Rivian has been raising eyebrows since it demonstrated a nifty electric pickup and SUV, both built on a native EV platform. The company plans to produce vehicles at a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, which it acquired in 2017. It hopes to begin deliveries of the R1T pickup in late 2020.
“This investment is an important milestone for Rivian and the shift to sustainable mobility,” said Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe. “Beyond simply eliminating compromises that exist around performance, capability and efficiency, we are working to drive innovation across the entire customer experience.”
Just because GM isn’t investing in Rivian in this round doesn’t mean that it won’t do so soon. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas is one of many observers who see the massive pickup market as the next frontier for EVs. “A culmination of battery cost reduction, architecture, duty cycle, and price point – e-pickups are an important area of investor focus,” he wrote.
Taking a stake in Rivian could be a way for GM to help bring an e-pickup to market without sabotaging its lucrative ICE sales.
Jonas also noted that Amazon has a number of reasons to be interested in electrifying light trucks as it stakes out a position in the $900-billion logistics industry.
“We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation,” said Amazon’s Jeff Wilke. “RJ [Scaringe] has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match.”
Source: Automotive News