Electric auto-maker Rivian has announced it closed a $700 million round of equity funding led by Amazon.
The New Company on the Block
Reuters reported last week the company was in talks with GM and Amazon to lead the round of funding. Though GM did not ultimately participate, Amazon led the round. The funding comes just three months after the company announced its first two vehicles: a fully electric pickup, and an electric model SUV. Both vehicles will put the new company in direct competition with Tesla.
Amazon is Impressed
In a statement regarding the recent round of funding, Amazon CEO of Worldwide Consumers Jeff Wilke stated, “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.” Despite the latest equity round of funding led by the internet giant, Rivian insists it will remain an independent company.
A Proud CEO
In response to the latest round of funding Rivian CEO, RJ Scaringe also remarked, “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.”
Amazon’s Move Toward Vehicles
Though Amazon led the round, just how much the tech giant invested has not been made public. The move comes mere weeks after Amazon joined Sequoia and Lightspeed Venture Partners in acquiring a stake in the autonomous vehicle startup, Aurora. Whether or not the two companies fit into a larger vision for Amazon remains to be seen.
Building a Better Pickup
Both of Rivian’s models will feature a 180 kilowatt-hour battery pack. The battery pack – which is nearly twice the size of Tesla’s – boasts a range of more than 400 miles under optimal conditions. Such features may prove Rivian can capture the elusive market of a competitive battery-powered pickup.
Both models are expected to be made available sometime in 2020.