Electric Adventure Vehicle Maker Rivian Announces a $700 Million Investment Led by Amazon
【Summary】Electric truckmaker Rivian soon may become a major player in the electric vehicle space after receiving a $700 million investment led e-commerce giant Amazon. Rivian first revealed its two electric models, the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, at the Los Angeles Auto Show this past November.
Electric truckmaker Rivian soon may become a major player in the electric vehicle space after receiving a $700 million investment led by e-commerce giant Amazon. Rivian becomes the latest startup electric automaker poised to compete with Tesla as the automotive industry focuses on building new fully-electric vehicles.
Rivian first revealed its two electric models, the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, at the Los Angeles Auto Show this past November.
Rivian said it will remain an independent company. Additional details about this investment are not being disclosed at this time.
"We're inspired by Rivian's vision for the future of electric transportation," said Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer. "RJ (founder and CEO RJ Scaringe) has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We're thrilled to invest in such an innovative company."
Rivian bills its zero-emissions vehicles as "electric adventure vehicles", and the R1T and R1S are designed to handle pavement as well as rugged off-roads trails. The battery-powered R1T and R1S, deliver up to 400 miles of range miles of range.
Unlike Tesla's luxury SUV the Model X, which is designed for paved roads, Rivian's vehicles are designed to provide high-performance off-road capability and utility, and are more targeted to the Jeep and 4X4 truck crowd or those looking to take their electric vehicle on a outdoor adventure.
Rivian will launch the R1T and R1S in the U.S. in late 2020, and outside of the country beginning in 2021.
"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."
The Rivian R1S SUV
Rivian developed its vehicles from the ground up. The R1T and R1S both use Rivian's flexible skateboard platform.
Rivian's skateboard platform packages the battery pack, drive units, suspension, braking and thermal system all below the height of the wheels, leaving more space for to design a larger passenger compartment with room for more cargo.
The vehicles will be built at Rivian's sprawling 2.6-million-square-foot auto assembly plant in Normal, Illinois.
The plant as formerly occupied by Mitsubishi Motors and churned out around 200,000 vehicles per year in the 1990's. Mitsubishi shuttered the plant three years ago and it was purchased by Rivian in 2017 for $16 million.
Rivian plans to build its EV batteries at the facility as well. The batteries might even be sold to other companies that will make their own electric vehicles with Rivian's technology said Wade Jensen, engineering manager at the plant in an interview last month with Illinois public radio station WGLT.
Rivian's skateboard battery platform
It was reported that Rivian's battery partner is South Korean battery manufacturer LG Chem. When reached for comment, a Rivian spokesperson would not confirm that information. LG Chem supplies battery cells many top automakers, including General Motors for the Bolt EV.
Rivian hired around 60 former Mitsubishi workers that used to work at the plant. The company is planning to build 50,000 electric pickups and SUVs annually at the facility.
In addition the factory in Illinois, Rivian has development centers in Plymouth, Mich., San Jose, CA, Irvine, CA and Surrey, England.
Rivian is now accepting pre-orders on its R1T and R1S.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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