US-based electric vehicle aspirant Rivian has secured a fresh $US2.65 billion ($A3.44 billion) investment injection, as the company readies to kick-start production of its first models of off-road ‘adventure’ EVs.
Rivian announced that it had closed the investment round, which had been led by T. Rowe Price Associates, and included investments from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and a number of other investors.
Rivian is aiming to launch two new models of electric vehicles in 2021, the R1T utility/pick-up and the R1S four-wheel drive. The company is also preparing to deliver on a deal with Amazon to provide all-electric commercial delivery vans, and Amazon’s involvement in the investment round is a positive endorsement for the company.
Amazon has ordered 100,000 all-electric vans, built on the chassis developed by Rivian, with first deliveries expected to be completed this year. The vehicles will be produced at Rivian’s manufacturing facility in Illinois.
Rivian also opened up orders for its two new passenger vehicle models for the first time in November last year, with the launch versions of each of the R1T and R1S expected in the second half of 2021.
“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,” Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said.
It is the largest investment raise yet completed by Rivian, and follows a US$2.5 billion investment round, also lead by T. Rowe Price, that was completed in July last year.
Rivian previously completed a US$700 million investment round in 2019, which had been led by Amazon, and has raised a total of US$8 billion over the last two years. It is a substantial amount of investment for a company yet to deliver electric vehicles to the market.
Rowe Price portfolio manager, Joe Fath, said that the investment firm was keen to grow its involvement with the electric vehicle manufacturer.
“We have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of 2021, and with it, the exhilaration of Rivian starting to deliver its revolutionary products to customers. It is invigorating for us to continue our journey with such a talented, mission-driven team building a robust organization for the long term,” Joe Fath said.
The models set to be produced by the company, particularly the R1T utility, will fill a key gap in the market for electric vehicles, serving as an ideal answer to EV critics, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison among them, who have claimed that electric models will never offer an alternative to the classic Ute.