General Motors and Amazon intend to acquire minority stakes in Rivian, which would raise the valuation of the EV start-up to somewhere between 1 and 2 billion dollars. If negotiations are successful, the corresponding deals could be officially announced this month.
Reuters reported on the deal by making reference to inside sources, although according to the news agency, Amazon and Rivian had refused to comment. General Motors responded in an email: “We admire Rivian’s contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric future.”
Rivian drew attention to themselves by being the first manufacturer to bring an electrically powered pickup onto the US market. The R1T, which was presented at the LA Auto Show last November, is scheduled to go on sale in autumn 2020. The five-seater is equipped with four electric motors, whereby the total output can be configured to different levels between 300 and 562 kW. The startup, based in Plymouth, Michigan, is planning three battery variants with capacities of 105 kWh, 135 kWh and 180 kWh, which will enable ranges of more than 230, 300 and 400 miles (370 to 644 km), respectively.
According to the report, company founder RJ Scaringe previously said that he wanted to work with external companies to develop autonomous driving technologies, rather than going it alone. This would be consistent with reports on negotiations with Amazon. Only recently, the online giant contributed a “significant amount” to the second round of financing for the start-up Aurora, which raised a total of 530 million dollars (467 million euros). This makes Amazon one of the most recent tech companies to demonstratively back developments in autonomous driving.
General Motors recently started thinking out loud about electrifying off-road vehicles and pickup trucks of its GMC brand. So far there has always been talk of building limousines, crossovers, SUVs and minivans on the new BEV3 platform, which is planned for 2021. It looks like pickups could be added. However, General Motors only dared to release the news after their U.S. competition had already shown their hand: Tesla has been talking about a pickup for over a year now. Several startups have also presented their development plans for electric pickups and prototypes, including Rivian, Workhorse, Atlis Motor Vehicles and Bollinger. In mid-January, an established OEM joined Ford, who announced the intention to launch a purely electric offshoot of its F-150 on the market. However, the carmaker did not commit to a specific point in time.
As for the rest of the backing, Rivian’s existing financiers include the Saudi car distributor AJL, Sumitomo and Standard Chartered Bank. ALJ has agreed to provide nearly $500 million in financing, Sumitomo invested an undisclosed amount and Standard Chartered is providing $200 million in financing.