Rivian plans to start selling electric trucks, SUVs in 2020.
Rivian, the startup manufacturer planning to launch an all-electric pickup truck and an electric SUV, announced Friday it has received a $700 million equity investment that is led by internet giant Amazon . Rivian said it will remain an independent company, but the investment will no doubt help the new automaker push its planned models into production.
Rivian showed off its R1T electric pickup truck and R1S electric SUV at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. The R1T will have a driving range of up to "400+" miles, depending on which battery pack a buyer chooses. It's scheduled to launch in November 2020 and will be built at a former Mitsubishi plant in Illinois. The R1S, meanwhile, is a seven-seat electric SUV that'll offer up to 410 miles of range. It's set to launch in early 2021. The two models share many of their mechanical components.
Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe characterized the investment as key for Rivian's growth. "This investment is an important milestone for Rivian and the shift to sustainable mobility," he said in a statement. "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."
"We're inspired by Rivian's vision for the future of electric transportation," Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer, said in a statement. "We're thrilled to invest in such an innovative company."
Rivian's two vehicles will be pricey luxury models, with the R1T tentatively scheduled to start at $69,000. Both vehicles ride on the company's own "Skateboard" chassis that features a large centrally mounted battery pack and two electric motors. Though the vehicles are impressive, it's safe to say that it's still a long journey from showing two vehicles to actually selling them to the general public. Ramping up production will be "the biggest challenge we have," Rivian executive director of engineering Mark Vinnels told Roadshow in fall 2018.
Rivian offered no further details about the investment, saying only that this equity investment round, "includes participation from existing shareholders." An earlier report had suggested that Amazon was interested in investing into Rivian. That report also claimed that General Motors might also want to invest in the electric-car manufacturer, but as of Friday, there's no news on that front.