Rivian Automotive, an electric car company that debuted its first two luxury adventure vehicles to much acclaim last year, has announced a $700 million investment round led by Amazon on Friday. The additional funds would help the automaker produce its first vehicles — the R1T pickup truck and the seven-seat R1S SUV.
In a press release, Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe noted that the recent funding round is a notable milestone for the company. He also noted that Amazon’s support would help Rivian deliver on its vision.
“This investment is an important milestone for Rivian and the shift to sustainable mobility. 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,” Scaringe said.
Reports of Amazon’s interest in Rivian emerged earlier this week, when sources reportedly familiar with the proceedings noted to Reuters that the e-commerce giant had invested in the electric car maker. Based on Rivian’s announcement today, these reports appear to be accurate. Nevertheless, Reuters‘ sources also hinted that American automaker GM is investing in Rivian as well. So far, neither GM nor Rivian has provided any confirmation for these reports.
Rivian’s recent Amazon-led $700 million investment round included funding from the company’s existing shareholders. With this latest investment round, Rivian has raised a total of about $1.5 billion, which is very impressive for an electric car company that has operated in stealth mode for several years before launching its first vehicles. Nevertheless, RJ Scaringe did state that Rivian is actually not in dire need of funding right now, since backers like Sumitomo Corp. from Japan and auto distributor Abdul Latif Jameel Ltd. from Saudi are fully onboard with the company’s mission.
Rivian’s entry into the pickup truck market has drawn the eye of Wall Street. In a recent note, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas pointed out that a successful pickup truck like Rivian’s R1T could spell trouble for Detroit’s biggest players. The analyst also added that Rivian would have a notable edge against traditional automakers since the company is building its vehicles from the ground up, practically allowing the company to reimagine what a pickup truck could be.
Rivian plans to start producing its first vehicle, the R1T luxury pickup truck, sometime in 2020. The R1S seven-seater SUV, which shares many components with its pickup truck sibling, is expected to enter production in 2021. Both vehicles can be pre-ordered on Rivian’s official website, which could be accessed here.