By on December 26, 2019

An electric vehicle platform many can’t wait to get their hands on continues to make Rivian the upstart automaker to watch. The fledgling, Michigan-based automaker just closed a $1.3 billion investment round led by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. — pushing the company’s 2019 take to $2.8 billion.

With two utility vehicles on the way and a pledge to license its EV architecture to anyone willing to pay for it, Rivian’s big-buck backing from the likes of Ford, Amazon, and Cox Automotive was just the start.

For the record, Amazon and Ford also participated in the most recent round of funding via their own fund manager. Earlier this year, Amazon ponied up $700 million for Rivian, with Ford coming along and offering a half-billion dollars of its own. Cox’s investment amounted to $350 million.

“This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy – we are extremely excited to have the support from such strong shareholders,” said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe in a statement.

It didn’t take long before product promises sprung up in the wake of the earlier rounds of funding. In September, Amazon announced an order of 100,000 electric delivery vans from the company, with Ford tapping the startup for a jointly developed EV crossover. More recently, a report arose that a Lincoln crossover to be introduced in mid-2022 will ride atop Rivian’s “skateboard” platform. A Ford-badged twin could also be in the wings.

“As we continue in our transformation of Ford with new forms of intelligent vehicles and propulsion, this partnership with Rivian brings a fresh approach to both,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said last April. “At the same time, we believe Rivian can benefit from Ford’s industrial expertise and resources.”

While the partnership with Ford and Amazon no doubt boosted Rivian’s investor appeal, the company’s decision to license its platform to any and all automakers likely served to supercharge its attractiveness to investors.

Starting in late 2020, Rivian plans to build its R1T pickup and R1S SUV at a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, with the loftiest variant of each expected to reach 400 miles of range. In a display of what four independent electric motors can do for drivers, Rivian released a video on Christmas of an R1T performing a “tank turn” — a near-stationary 180 accomplished by having the port wheels full ahead and the starboard wheels full astern.

[Image: Rivian]

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18 Comments on “After New Funding Round, Rivian Ends the Year Flush...”

  • avatar

    That tank turn capability is going to sell a lot of trucks. Now I want one.

    • 0 avatar

      If this can be combined with Ford’s trailer backup controller it could make maneuvering in tight spots much easier, especially in reverse. Nice advantage of truly independent 4 wheel drive. I wonder if a software upgrade will allow Tesla’s to do this.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m pretty sure I was told here that the tank-turn capability when first revealed was just a photoshop effect.

      Now that it’s real, if it’s real (lol), someone will tell me that it’s been available on the F-150 for years. (Because the 2019 F-150 is the most fully-evolved engineered thing in the history of mankind, and can never be topped.)

  • avatar

    there once was a girl from Nantucket…

  • avatar

    I think my mom’s Lexus ES could use tank turn; it’s a hard car for her to maneuver.

    • 0 avatar

      Throw some bags of sawdust (mud? wet leaves?) into the trunk to spread around for decreased traction while tank-turning on pavement (avoids unnecessary tire wear, high torques and squealing sounds).

      (Locomotives carry and dispense sand in front of the drive wheels to increase traction, perhaps automotive OEM’s could build in a friction-reducing-dispenser for tank turns if you happen to not be driving on loose soil.)

  • avatar

    It’s all a conspiracy by the tire companies to sell more tires! Can you image the wear when you do a “tank” turn? Makes “4 wheels smoking and drifting” to a whole new level. Fit each wheel with a different colour smoke generating tire and you will have art in motion :)

    Cheers and have a happy new year.

  • avatar

    “In late 2020 Rivian plans to start building…”
    Let me fix that for you. In mid 2020, Rivian plans to announce a delay in production to the end of 2021.
    In mid 2021, Rivian is planning to announce another delay in production to the end of 2022.
    P.S. we’ll need more money before then. Not building anything is really expensive!
    So if you’re planning to buy a new truck, go ahead and buy it. Your drivers license will be taken away before this boondoggle ever sees the light of day.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    That’s a lot of interest and money pouring in to a company that has built nothing but a few prototypes.

    Because they aren’t Tesla, everyone assumes everything will be just fine. I wish them well.

    • 0 avatar

      This $70,000 R1T nonsense will never see production. Batteries have not magically dropped in price. Not even for Tesla. I wish someone would construct a timeline of the number of times the Workhorse pickup was delayed. They seemed to announce regular production delays at six month intervals without EVER having the funds, the tooling, the factory or the orders to build anything. This R1T is merely a symbol to focus on, something to take to a car show and get people talking, but it’s not real. Rivian is not a manufacturing company.

  • avatar

    A few lines of code to perform, a few more to “sense” when there is too much traction to allow damage-free execution.

    This is gonna be fun in ski area parking lots!!!

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    Put a wee Diesel engine and fuel tank somewhere in it – then take my money.

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