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Rivian secures $980m investment from Amazon

Fresh tracks: Rivian revealed what it is calling the “world’s first electric adventure vehicles” when it tore the covers of its R1T pick-up (left) and R1S SUV (below) at last year’s Los Angelas motor show.

US electric-vehicle company Rivian announces $A980m investment round led by Amazon

18 Feb 2019

AMERICAN electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Rivian has received a $US700 million ($A980 million) investment from e-commerce giant Amazon, following last year’s reveal of the all-electric R1T ute and R1S large SUV at the Los Angeles motor show.


The off-road ready EVs will be produced in Normal, Illinois, with deliveries for the US, Canada and Mexico to start in 2020, while Europe and China will follow in 2021.


It is expected that the Rivian pair will also be produced for right-hand-drive markets including Japan, UK and Australia shortly after.


A statement from the EV-maker said it will not disclose additional details about the Amazon investment at this time, but it did confirm that Rivian will remain an independent company.


With Amazon a key player in logistics and commerce, it could help Rivian with the development of a delivery vehicle, and its significant technology resources could provide the brand with autonomous mobility software and hardware to tackle the likes of Tesla’s Autopilot system.


Rivian founder and chief executive officer RJ Scaringe said that the investment from Amazon is an important milestone for the company.


“This investment is an important milestone for Rivian and the shift to sustainable mobility,” he said.


“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.”


Amazon chief executive officer worldwide consumer Jeff Wilke said that Rivian is an “impressive organisation”.


“We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation,” he said.


“RJ has built an impressive organisation, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We’re thrilled to invest in such an innovative company.”


Rivian came into the spotlight when it unveiled its all-electric R1T pick-up and its R1S seven-seat SUV which boast up to 644 and 660 kilometres of range respectively.


Pricing has been set for the US market at $US69,000 ($A95,400) for the R1T and $US72,500 ($A100,300) for the R1S, but local availability has yet to be confirmed.


The vehicles are built on Rivian’s ‘skateboard’ platform that sets the battery pack, drive units, suspension, braking and thermal systems below the height of wheel for increased passenger and luggage space and a lowered centre of gravity.


Both the R1T and R1S employ a quad-motor setup, delivering 147kW to all four wheels with active torque vectoring, and three battery pack options are available ranging from 105kWh, 135kWh and 180kWh.


That translates to combined system outputs of 300kW/560Nm, 562kW/1120Nm and 522kW/1120Nm respectively, with the latter two producing a staggering 14,000Nm of torque.


In 135kWh guise, both models will sprint from zero to 100km/h in 3.0 seconds, and all units are DC fast charging compatible to enable approximately 320 kilometres of range to be recuperated in 30 minutes.


The standard 11kW charger provides fast charging at Level 2 stations.


If Rivian does launch in Australia, it will dominate a segment of its own as the only electric off-road vehicles on offer, and perhaps garner interest from mid-size pick-up customers.

In the US, it should pinch sales from models in the conventionally powered full-size pick-up segment like the Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500 and Ford F-150.

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