The backing from Amazon will bolster Michigan-based Rivian’s plans to bring an electric truck to market late next year. Rivian remains in talks with General Motors Co. about the largest U.S. automaker also making an investment, people familiar with the matter said.
The support of the world’s top online retailer signals potential for a partnership on delivery vehicles down the road. Chief Executive Officer R J Scaringe said in his first interview since reports of Rivian’s talks with Amazon and GM surfaced earlier this week that he was seeking companies that could help the electric-vehicle maker grow.
“We will bring on additional partners, but less because of capital reasons and more because of a need to have strategic relationships as we scale towards our broader vision,” Scaringe said ahead of the announcement Friday.
Discussions between GM and Rivan are ongoing, according to the people familiar with the talks, who asked not to be identified because an agreement hasn’t been reached. It’s unclear whether the potential deal would include GM taking an equity stake.
Scaringe, 36, said Rivian wasn’t in dire need of funds because backers led by Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. and Saudi auto distributor Abdul Latif Jameel Ltd. are fully committed to seeing the company succeed. Rivian didn’t name GM in its statement Friday, which said that existing shareholders participated along with Amazon.
Rivian has now raised about $1.15 billion. Its battery-powered R1T pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle drew rave reviews at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November and are expected to deliver as much as 400 miles of driving range.
In backing Rivian, Amazon is making a second auto investment in short order. The company was among the participants in a $530 million funding round for self-driving startup Aurora Innovation announced this month.