Electric Vehicle Startup Rivian Secures $1.3 Billion in New Funding from T. Rowe Price & Others

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【Summary】Today, electric vehicle startup Rivian announced a $1.3 billion funding round led by new investor T Rowe Price. The investment round also included BlackRock Inc. and participation from Rivian’s existing investors. The latest funding is Rivian’s fourth major investment this year.

FutureCar Staff    Jan 29, 2020 1:25 PM PT
Electric Vehicle Startup Rivian Secures $1.3 Billion in New Funding from T. Rowe Price & Others
The fully-electric Rivian R1T pickup truck

Electric vehicle startup Rivian continues to secure major investments to develop its fully electric vehicles, including its R1T pickup and R1S SUV models. The Plymouth, Michigan-based company has already secured major financial backing from e-commerce giant Amazon as well as the Ford Motor Company.

Today, Rivian announced a $1.3 billion funding round led by new investor T Rowe Price. The investment round also included BlackRock Inc. and participation from Rivian's existing investors The latest funding is Rivian's fourth major investment in 2019. 

With participation by T. Rowe Price, the Maryland-based asset management firm extends its investments in the auto industry. T. Rowe Price is betting big on companies working on electric vehicles and autonomous driving. The company is already a major investor in Tesla, as well as in the autonomous driving division of General Motors, Cruise. 

T. Rowe Price also made a significant investment in self-driving car software startup Aurora, a startup founded by three Silicon Valley veterans who previously worked at Google, Tesla and Uber. Aurora's CEO Chris Urmson was a pioneer in developing Google's first self-driving cars and led Google's early self-driving car program, which has now become Waymo. 

"T. Rowe Price is excited to invest in Rivian as it moves the innovation frontier forward with its compelling sustainable transport solutions for both consumers and businesses," T. Rowe Price Growth Stock Fund Portfolio Manager Joe Fath said Monday in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Rivian is emerging as a major player in the EV space with its advanced electric skateboard platform. The electric vehicle maker is following Tesla's lead in challenging U.S. rivals General Motors and Ford in the electric pickup and SUV segment, two of the most profitable categories for U.S. automakers.

"This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy," Rivian Chief Executive R.J. Scaringe said in a statement. "We are extremely excited to have the support from such strong shareholders."

Rivian was founded in 2009. Rivian is one of the few electric vehicle startups that owns a former automotive factory to build its vehicles. The company acquired a former Mitsubishi Motors Corp plant in Normal, Illinois in 2017 for $16 million. Rivian plans to start building its all-electric R1T pickup, and the companion R1S SUV, starting in late 2020.

Rivain is targeting a 400 mile range for its electric vehicles. The company has confirmed that it will be equipping R1T pickup with the world's biggest EV battery pack.

Both models will be built on Riivian's "skateboard architecture", which contains all of the vehicle's batteries and electrical components. The skateboard design can accommodate different body styles for more efficient manufacturing. 

Although electric vehicles currently make up just a small percentage of all vehicles sold, their potential to upend the auto industry is becoming clear, with established automakers such as General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford pouring billions of dollars into developing new battery-powered models and electric vehicle architectures.

Amazon led a $700 million investment in Rivian in February and plans on using electric vehicles built by Rivian for its delivery fleet. The e-commerce company ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian, which Amazon says is the biggest order of its kind to date. 

The first Amazon vans will be built at a former Mitsubishi Motors Corp plant in Normal, Illinois, that Rivain acquired in 2017 for $16 million.

Ford Motor Co invested $500 million in Rivian in April and plans to help it begin production in Normal in 2020. Ford may use a Rivian-designed skateboard platform for future electric models, including the first all-electric version of the F-150 pickup, the best-selling pickup model in the U.S.

In November, sources told Reuters that a battery-powered Lincoln luxury SUV would be the first Ford vehicle to be built on Rivian's skateboard architecture. Lincoln's electric SUV is due to hit the market in mid 2022.

"We want to maintain a meaningful value in the ownership and future of that company," Ford spokesman T.R. Reid said on Monday about Rivian.

Prior to today's announcement, Rivian had raised $2.2 billion from investors, according to investor website PitchBook, and was valued between $5 and $7 billion. Cox Automotive Inc, owner of the Autotrader online auto marketplace and Kelley Blue Book car valuation service, invested $350 million in Rivian in September.

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