Rivian continues to move forward with a steady stream of EV pickup and SUV development, manufacturing, and more. The “more” is more investment. Rivian just closed a $1.3 billion investment round heading up to production starting later in 2020. The fund investment was overseen by T. Rowe Price Associates.
Some big players participated in this latest funding round. Amazon, Ford and fund management firm BlackRock all jumped in. “This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology, and strategy,” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian Founder and CEO. “We are extremely excited to have the support of such strong shareholders.”
The fourth investment round in 2019
This was the fourth investment announcement in 2019. The others were a $700 million round in February. Amazon participated in that round also. In April Ford Motor Company jumped in with $500 million as well as announcing a collaboration with Ford utilizing the Rivian skateboard EV platform. That will manifest itself into the coming Lincoln EV SUV due in 2021.
Cox Automotive announced in September a $350 million investment as well as an agreement to collaborate on logistics and service. Then later that month Amazon announced plans to co-develop an all-electric delivery van. Over 100,000 vans were ordered. These will also see the light in 2021.
As can be seen it has been a steady progression of development and collaborations. Rivian built this on its main focus to deliver an EV pickup and SUV. The R1T truck and R1S SUV will deliver more than 400 miles range along with advanced performance and off-road capabilities.
The skateboard platform should allow for quicker vehicle development
All of these products and collaborations will be based on Rivian’s “skateboard” platform. This allows it to tailor different bodies to the common platform to more quickly develop unique vehicles. Manufacturing will start later in 2020 with vehicles available at the end of 2020.
Rivian now has development centers in Plymouth, Michigan; San Jose, California; Vancouver, Canada; and Surrey, England. Its Normal manufacturing plant is a 2.6 million-square-foot facility.
For now, it seems that Rivian is the farthest along in achieving all-electric truck manufacturing if it can stick to its 2020 timeline. The latest investment funding should help it meet that goal. Bollinger, Lordstown, and even Ford and GM seem to be a year out from Rivian.
Will there be demand for EV trucks so many manufacturers are building products for?
The interesting question is if there will really be a demand for all-electric commercial vehicles. Also, will they be able to haul loads without severely limiting range? Some feel that once heavy loads are placed upon the EV system that it will quickly diminish the distance the vehicle can travel.
Test units have been spotted in different locations around the world as production gets closer. By this time next year, we should be seeing Rivian vehicles out in the wild. Then it will be interesting to see how demand meets up with market perceptions.