Rivian snags investment of another $1.3 billion to manufacture electric pickups

Michigan-based Rivian has secured a sizable $1.3 billion investment led by asset management company T.Rowe Price. The cash injection will help the young maker of electric vehicles ramp up production of its hotly anticipated first models by the end of 2020.

Repeat investors Amazon and Ford each contributed an unspecified amount of money to Rivian’s fourth funding round of 2019, and funds managed by BlackRock are also part of the investment. “The investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology, and strategy. We are extremely excited to have the support of such strong shareholders,” Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe wrote in a statement.

Building cars is a difficult and expensive process — just ask Faraday Future — so Rivian needs as much money as it can get to smoothly start production of the R1S and the R1T it unveiled as close-to-production concept cars during the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. It plans to manufacture both off-roaders in a former Mitsubishi factory located in Normal, Illinois. The two models will share most components under the sheet metal, including a relatively flat, skateboard-like platform with four electric motors and one of the largest lithium-ion battery packs ever fitted to an electric car.

Getting both models right the first time is crucial. The R1T (above) will compete in the burgeoning electric pickup truck segment against the polarizing Tesla Cybertruck, Ford’s upcoming battery-powered F-150, the Lordstown Endurance, and the electric model General Motors is developing in Michigan. The R1S, a seven-seater SUV, will have fewer competitors when it goes on sale, though we hear Cadillac will make the next-generation Escalade electric sooner or later.

Rivian is quickly turning into the automotive industry’s new darling. The company hasn’t built a single car, let alone delivered one to paying customers, yet it received a $500 million investment from Ford earlier in 2019, and the two companies are reportedly linking arms to co-develop an electric luxury SUV that will be sold under the Lincoln brand starting in 2022. Amazon led a $700 million investment round in Rivian in 2019, and it later ordered 100,000 examples of a mysterious electric delivery van that will be deployed on America’s roads by 2030. Cox Automotive (the company that owns Kelley Blue Book) earlier put $350 million on the table to help Rivian get off the ground.

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