Amazon.com Inc.-backed electric vehicle maker Rivian has landed a whopping $1.3 billion funding round to keep its battery powered pickup trucks and delivery vans on track for a U.S. launch in late 2020, the company said Monday.
The hefty venture round will help fuel the Plymouth, Michigan-based company in its race to handle a massive order by e-commerce giant Amazon of 100,000 electric parcel-delivery vans beginning in 2021. Rivian also plans to launch its $69,000 R1T pickup truck and $72,500 R1S sport utility vehicle (SUV) in global geographies outside the U.S. starting in 2021.
The latest funding round was led by "funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc." and include additional investment by Ford Motor Co., funds managed by BlackRock, and by Amazon itself. It follows three previous rounds this year alone, including a $700 million funding round in February that was led by Amazon, a $500 million in April led by Ford, and a $350 million round in September led by Cox Automotive. Together, those four rounds total $1.85 billion.
It was in the midst of that flood of money that Amazon ordered its enormous fleet of electric delivery vans, saying it expected to receive the first vehicles in 2021, to have 10,000 of the battery-powered vehicles on the road as early as 2022, and all 100,000 active by 2030.
While Rivian's flagship vehicles will focus on the civilian marketplace of pickups and SUVs, Amazon's backing could drive an outsized impact on the logistics sector. Rivian has not yet revealed the specifications for the Amazon vans, but its R1T and R1S platforms will deliver up to 400 miles of range and will be produced at Rivian's manufacturing plant in Normal, Ill., the firm said.
In contrast, other electric vehicle manufacturers have focused on the larger, Class 6 and Class 8 model trucks used in applications such as container port drayage and inter-city semi routes. For example, in 2019, BYD North America expanded sales of its electric trucks at the Port of Oakland, and Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) began delivery of its battery-electric Freightliner eCascadias for another drayage application in California. Meanwhile, electric car leader Tesla is on schedule to miss its original launch window of 2019 for its much-hyped Tesla Semi.
Tank Turn. Available on the R1T and R1S :) pic.twitter.com/AsRKnFJGWr— Rivian (@Rivian) December 25, 2019