Rivian raises another $2.65 billion: EV-maker readies Amazon vans and e-pickup production in 2021

The electric vehicle startup raised an additional $ 2.65 billion. This is another round of financing as automaker Tesla and others are taking over with new pickup and SUV models and building an emission-free delivery fleet for Amazon. The new round – made up of new and existing investors – brings Rivian’s total increase to a whopping $ 8 billion since early 2019, despite not having a single consumer vehicle shipped to date.

The original plan was to start production of the fully electric Rivian R1T pickup truck at the end of 2020 and the fully electric R1S SUV shortly afterwards. This did not happen for several reasons – not least because of the ongoing pandemic. Rivian now expects production to begin this year.

However, since the announcement of the R1S and R1T, Rivian has received a few well-known names. Amazon announced it would buy 100,000 electric delivery vans from the startup and jointly develop multiple versions of the EV truck for deliveries to the city and suburbs. The first Rivian-made Amazon van was unveiled last October.

While production may have been slow to come about, Cash certainly didn’t. Today’s $ 2.65 billion new funding was led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., including Fidelity Management and Research Company, Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Coatue and D1 Capital Partners. New investors came in, in addition to existing investors who built up their stake in Rivian.

“This is a critical year for us as we bring the R1T, R1S and Amazon utility vehicles to market,” said RJ Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian, of the additional funding. “The support and trust of our investors enables us to continue to focus on these launches while scaling our business for our next phase of growth.”

Rivian’s charm includes the self-made electrical platform known as a “skateboard” for electric vehicles. Essentially packs the most important drivetrain hardware – including batteries and electric motors – into a single disc, with the flexibility to build different body styles on top. For example, the R1S and R1T can be an SUV and a pickup truck, respectively, but still use the same underlying drive hardware with these differences. Rivian said the skateboard platform can also be scaled to range from urban bypasses to commercial transportation.

Still, it is not alone in this approach. Another electric vehicle startup, Canoo, is using a similar modular architecture and is recently showing its own vision of EV delivery vehicles adopting a platform previously intended for passenger cars.

Rivian still says production should start this year. Sales of the R1S and R1T opened for reservation holders in November 2020. The Launch Edition version of both vehicles sold out in around a week.

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