Autos

Electric vehicle startup Rivian scores $1.3 billion investment from T.Rowe Price, others

Key Points
  • Electric vehicle startup Rivian said on Monday it closed a $1.3 billion investment round, led by fund manager T. Rowe Price, along with Amazon and Ford.
  • Prior to Monday's announcement, Rivian had raised $2.2 billion from investors, according to investor website PitchBook, and was valued at an estimated $5 billion to $7 billion.
  • Rivian said on Monday no new board seats were added as a result of the latest investment.
RJ Scaringe, founder and chief executive officer of Rivian Automotive, speaks after unveiling the R1S electric sports utility vehicle (SUV).
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Electric vehicle startup Rivian said on Monday it closed a $1.3 billion investment round led by fund manager T. Rowe Price, but also including existing investors online retailer Amazon and No. 2 U.S. automaker Ford.

The investment round, which also included BlackRock, is the fourth this year for Rivian and positions the Plymouth, Michigan-based company as one of the better-financed players in a crowded EV manufacturing market where Tesla is the most established player.

"This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy," Rivian Chief Executive R.J. Scaringe said in a statement.

Electric vehicles still make up only a small piece of the global automotive market. While Tesla is the best-known maker, China and Europe are pushing automakers to roll out EVs, and Ford, General Motors and others have announced plans to spend billions of dollars developing the vehicles.

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Founded in 2009, Rivian plans to build an all-electric pickup truck, the R1T, and the companion R1S SUV, starting in late 2020. Both models are based on a Rivian-designed "skateboard," a chassis that bundles electric motor, batteries and controls and can accommodate a variety of body styles.

Prior to Monday's announcement, Rivian had raised $2.2 billion from investors, according to investor website PitchBook, and was valued at an estimated $5 billion to $7 billion.

Rivian said on Monday no new board seats were added as a result of the latest investment.

T. Rowe Price has placed other bets in the auto sector. It is a large Tesla shareholder and also has invested in GM's majority-owned Cruise self-driving division. T. Rowe Price also invested, along with Amazon, in self-driving car software startup Aurora and British online food delivery company Deliveroo.

Amazon, which has relationships and deals across the auto industry, led a $700 million investment round in Rivian in February. The e-commerce giant also ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian. The first Amazon vans will be built at a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, starting in 2021.

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Ford is investing $500 million in electric truck maker Rivian

Ford invested $500 million in Rivian in April and plans to help it begin production in Normal in 2020.

"We want to maintain a meaningful value in the ownership and future of that company," Ford spokesman T.R. Reid said of Rivian.

In November, sources told Reuters a battery-powered Lincoln SUV, due in mid-2022, would be the first Ford vehicle to be built on the Rivian skateboard.

Cox Automotive, owner of the Autotrader online automobile market and Kelley Blue Book car valuation service, invested $350 million in Rivian in September.