Amazon Leads $700 Million Investment Into Rivian – Here’s What That Means For Its Upcoming Truck and SUV

Rivian's pickup and SUV models edge closer to reality

Rivian R1S

Amazon led a $700 million investment campaign into the Michigan-based startup.

On the heels of Rivian’s R1S SUV and R1T debut at the 2018 LA Auto Show, major companies are investing into the startup’s efforts to bring the all-new electric vehicles to market. Reuters reports that the company announced a $700 equity investment, led by Amazon. Allegedly, General Motors is also eyeing Rivian, and is in talks with the company to possibly invest as well.

Rivian R1S

On the heels of Rivian’s R1S SUV and R1T debut at the 2018 LA Auto Show, major companies are investing into the startup’s efforts to bring the all-new electric vehicles to market. Reuters reports that the company announced a $700 equity investment, led by Amazon. Allegedly, General Motors is also eyeing Rivian, and is in talks with the company to possibly invest as well.

The funding takes the upcoming Rivian R1S, for instance, out of the dreaded ‘vaporware’ space toward something the company will actually build. There’s a great deal of hype surrounding both vehicles. That includes the fact that Rivian may well beat Tesla to the electric truck market with its R1T pickup. However, there’s also the matter of the R1S SUV, which will supposedly launch as a 2021 model.

Facing the competition

The Rivian R1S faces much stiffer competition at the moment. Tesla is already in that space with the Model X. Audi is bringing the E-Tron. Jaguar has the I-Pace, and Mercedes-Benz is bringing their EQC crossover. Rivian claims their SUV packs 750 horsepower and is capable of running up to 410 miles on a charge. What’s more, the base model (with less range) will start at around $72,500.

2020 Rivian R1S

Just last week, Amazon also invested $530 million in self-driving car startup Aurora Innovation. Despite pulling out of plans to establish a second headquarters in New York, Amazon seems keen to get into the electric car and autonomous driving fields. It isn’t clear exactly how much of the $700 million that’s going into Rivian came from Amazon, but it’s likely to be significant.

Rivian’s current investors include Saudi auto distributor Abdul Latif Jameel Co, the Sumitomo Corp of Americas tire company and Standard Chartered Bank.

2020 Rivian R1S

‘An important milestone’, says CEO

According to a CNBC report, Rivian’s founder and CEO had this to say about Amazon’s investment:

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.”

R.J. Scaringe, Rivian founder and CEO

Until we actually see the Rivian R1S start production, we will have to wait and see how this investment plays out. The CNBC report went further, quoting a Morgan Stanley analyst who commented on Rivian’s role in the industry. If the company can bring the R1S and R1T to market, it could pose a serious threat to the big three automakers. Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler largely depend on truck and SUV sales to improve their bottom line. If cars and trucks like Rivian’s and Tesla’s gain traction, all three could face major challenges down the road.