Amazon invests in startup constructing electric pickup vans and SUVs

Amazon continued its push into the transportation area on Friday with a few excellent pieces of information: the organization is main a $700 million funding round in Rivian, a United States-primarily based EV startup operating to launch an all-electric pickup truck and SUV in 2020.

The announcement follows final week’s news that Amazon was part of a group that raised $530 million for Aurora Innovation, a self-sustaining vehicle startup led by the former head of Google’s self-using vehicle venture.

Rivian will “continue to be an impartial organization,” the startup introduced in a press release. While Amazon is leading the funding spherical, the EV startup says its existing shareholders are also worried about raising $seven-hundred million. Rivian no longer exposed precisely how much cash Amazon is contributing.

General Motors, which Reuters pronounced is also interested in investing in Rivian this week, changed into now not named in the press launch. “We have nothing additional to feature beyond our previously shared assertion from in advance this week,” a spokesperson for GM stated in an email to The Verge. “We respect Rivian’s contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric powered destiny.”

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This startup is constructing self-driving vans and SUVs for futuristic off-road adventures.

Rivian is an extraordinarily new call at the startup scene, having simply debuted its pickup truck and SUV on the give up of November final yr. But the employer has been running in stealth since 2009. Originally based on making something that competed with Tesla’s first car, the Lotus-based Roadster, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe quickly pivoted the organization toward a more movement-journey purchaser segment.

The result turned into excessive-power, off-street-equipped electric-powered motors: the R1T (the pickup) and the R1S (the SUV). Built at the same technological platform, Rivian claims its engines — with a purpose to start around $70,000 — can be capable of traveling as much as around four hundred miles on a single price, hit 60 miles per hour in below three seconds, and subsequently be able to drive themselves in some capacity. The employer boasts some of McLaren’s top ex-engineers and designers, and it’s spent years growing an utterly unique approach to building excessive-capability battery packs.

“[E]very single certainly one of [our vehicles] has to have this Patagonia-like experience of allowing journey,” Scaringe informed The Verge in November closing yr. “We need to preserve that very sharp. We want to attend most effectively on the journey area, so customers understand what we stand for.”

Unlike fellow US-primarily based EV startups like Faraday Future or Lucid Motors, which struggled financially following the announcements of their own electric-powered motors, Scaringe took a much more gradual and secretive approach with Rivian. The organization operated in almost total radio silence for nearly a decade before displaying its car designs in an overdue final year. By the time it did, Rivian had some portions in the location that other startups didn’t know when they had debuted their own electric-powered motors — like a manufacturing facility in Illinois.

For Amazon, the investment in Rivian is the present-day proof of the conglomerate’s push within the transportation space. Beyond the remaining week’s investment in Aurora, Amazon is also developing its own self-sustaining shipping robotic, has been linked to self-riding trucking startup Embark, and is working on drone delivery, to call some.

“We’re inspired via Rivian’s vision for the destiny of electrical transportation,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon’s global client department, said in an announcement. “RJ has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and era to healthy. We’re pleased to put money into such an innovative corporation.”


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