Rivian EV truck maker gets big money from Amazon

5 years, 4 months ago - 18 February 2019, Autoblog
Rivian EV truck maker gets big money from Amazon
Amazon also placed a big bet on Aurora self-driving startup last week

While Amazon was shocking New York this week by ditching its plans to place a second headquarters there, it has been spending lavishly on another front: the automotive sector. U.S. electric pickup truck maker Rivian Automotive on Friday announced an equity investment of $700 million, led by Amazon.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Amazon and General Motors were in talks to invest in Rivian in a deal that could value the company between $1 billion and $2 billion. Both Rivian and Amazon declined to comment on the valuation.

The investment comes on the heels of Rivian unveiling its all-electric R1T pickup and R1S SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, the company said.

The funding will be a major boost for the Plymouth, Michigan-based startup, which aspires to be the first carmaker to the U.S. consumer market with an electric pickup.

Last week, meanwhile, Amazon invested $530 million in self-driving car startup Aurora Innovation. The new funding brings Aurora's valuation to more than $2.5 billion.

Aurora Chief Executive Chris Urmson, who earlier led Alphabet's self-driving program, said the financing allows Aurora to expand and refine the testing and development of its autonomous driving system, and to hire, growing its staff of more than 200 people spread between offices in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Palo Alto, California.

Rivian's existing financial backers include Saudi auto distributor Abdul Latif Jameel Co, Sumitomo Corp of Americas and Standard Chartered Bank.