Electric Truck Startup Rivian Closes $2.65 Billion Investment Round

January 19, 2021 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

Electric truck startup Rivian continues to attract investors, closing a $2.65 billion funding round.

The latest investors include Fidelity Management and Research Company, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Coatue and D1 Capital Partners. T. Rowe Price managed the investment round. 

Amazon already is a major investor and is ordering 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian. Ford Motor Co. is another prominent investor. 

Rivian, based in Irvine, Calif., is raising the money to launch vehicle production, including its R1T truck and R1S SUV and the commercial van. 

 “This is a critical year for us as we are launching the R1T, the R1S and the Amazon commercial delivery vehicles. The support and confidence of our investors enables us to remain focused on these launches while simultaneously scaling our business for our next stage of growth,” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian’s founder and chief executive. 

Including this latest funding round, Rivian’s has raised $8 billion since the start of 2019. Bloomberg News estimated that the most recent financing gave Rivian a value of about $28 billion. 

“We have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of 2021, and with it, the exhilaration of Rivian starting to deliver its revolutionary products to customers,” said Joe Fath, T. Rowe Price portfolio manager. 

Rivian’s essential strategy play is designing a “skateboard” platform that it can use as the underpinning for a variety of light and commercial electric vehicles that vary by body format.

Rivian is taking a two-prong approach to the electric vehicle market. It is using the large Amazon order to launch production and increase volume.

Amazon said it plans to have 10,000 Rivian electric delivery vehicles on the road delivering to customers worldwide as early as 2022 and all 100,000 by 2030. 

“We combined Rivian’s technology with our delivery logistics knowledge, and the result is what you see here-the future of last-mile delivery,” said Ross Rachey, director of Amazon’s global fleet and products. 

The company also plans to sell high-end adventure vehicles in the consumer market. 

Rivian says the RIT will have impressive performance metrics, including 750 horsepower and a towing capacity of tow up to 11,000 pounds. The truck and SUV will have up to 14 inches of ground clearance with adjustable air suspension. Fully sealed battery pack and drive units will allow the R1T to wade through up to three feet of water. The vehicles will have 400 miles of range. 

Previously, Rivian said the truck and SUV would start at about $70,000 and that R1T truck production would start this year. 

But the startup will see plenty of competition. General Motors is reviving the Hummer as an all-electric truck in its GMC brand with similar performance numbers. Tesla also is developing an electric pickup truck. Ford is testing an electric version of the F-150 pickup, the best-selling vehicle of any kind in the U.S. Other startups, including Lordstown Motors and Bollinger, are developing electric pickup trucks.

Rivian plans to build its vehicles at a 2.6-million-square-foot former Mitsubishi assembly plant in Normal., Ill., that the startup bought in a 2017 liquidation sale for $16 million. Mitsubishi closed the plant in 2015 as its U.S. sales plunged.

Jerry Hirsch October 21, 2020
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