Book it: Amazon delivers millions to Tesla-rival Rivian to build electric SUVs, pickups

Rivian inched closer to prime time on Friday with the announcement it had received $ 700 million in the latest round of equity investment. Online shopping and technology giant Amazon was the lead investor.

Amazon’s total investment was not disclosed in Rivian’s announcement, but the company clarified with Green Car Reports that the online retailer and technology company “is a significant majority of this round.”

The electric car startup plans for two models in the next few years: the R1T pickup truck and the R1S SUV. The former is expected to arrive in late 2020 with the SUV coming one year later, per the company’s timeline.

Rivian R1S

Rivian R1S

On its investment in the electric car startup, Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer, said, “We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation,” and added the company is “thrilled” to invest in an innovative company. The round of equity investment, notably, did not include General Motors, which was rumored to have an interest in the startup company. Still, it leaves the door open to the U.S. automaker in future investment rounds.

Rivian R1T electric pickup concept

Rivian R1T electric pickup concept

Production of both the R1T and R1S will take place at the former Mitsubishi-Chrysler plant in Normal, Illinois, which Rivian secured years ago. Rivian’s models will be built around a skateboard-like platform with the battery pack mounted in the floor and an electric motor on each axle. Crucially, Rivian has not disclosed a battery supplier or shared if it plans to manufacture batteries in-house. The electric powertrain will be capable of producing up to 750 horsepower and 820 pound-feet of torque with an optional 180-kwh battery, according to the company.

Amazon’s investment into Rivian follows another high-profile investment into Aurora Innovation, a self-driving car startup. Amazon is likely keen to apply both segments’ efficiencies to its own operations in the future.

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