Amazon continued to push into the transport room on Friday with some great news: The company is leading a $ 700 million investment round in Rivian, a US-based EV startup working to launch an all-electric pickup truck and SUV by 2020.
The announcement follows last week's news that Amazon was part of a group that raised $ 530 million for Aurora Innovation, an autonomous vehicle launch led by the former head of Google's self-propelled car project.
Rivian will "remain an independent company," booted announced in a press release. While Amazon is the leading funding round, the EV startup says existing shareholders are also involved in raising $ 700 million. Rivian did not reveal exactly how much money Amazon contributes.
General Motors, who Reuters reported this week, is also interested in investing in Rivian, was not mentioned in the press release. "We have nothing extra to post than our earlier shared statement earlier this week," said a GM spokesman in an email to The Verge . "We admire Rivian's contribution to a future with zero emissions and an all-electric future."
Rivian is a relatively new name for the startup scene, and has only debuted its pickup truck and SUV at the end of November last year. But the company has been operating since 2009. Originally founded to do something that competed with Tesla's first car, Lotus-based Roadster, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe, turned to a more action-adventure customer segment.
The result was two powerful, off-road ready electric cars: R1
"[E] very easily one of [our vehicles] must have this Patagonia -like sense of enabling adventure," Scaringe told The Verge in November last year. "We want to keep it very sharp. We want to focus only on the fairground so customers understand what we stand for."
Unlike other US-based EV startups such as Faraday Future or Lucid Motors, who fought financially after the announcement by their own electric vehicles, Scaringe took a far more slow and secret approach with Rivian. The company operated in almost total radio silence for nearly a decade before he showed his vehicle design late last year. When it came, Rivian had several pieces in place that the other booties didn't make when they debuted their own electric vehicles – like a manufacturing facility in Illinois.
For Amazon, the investment in Rivian is the latest evidence of the conglomerate's impression in the transport space. Beyond last week's investment in Aurora, Amazon is also developing its own autonomous delivery robot, connected to self-propelled truck launch, Embark, and working on drone delivery to name a few.
"We are inspired by Rivian's vision for the future of electric transport," said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon's worldwide consumer department, in a statement. "RJ has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We are thrilled to invest in such an innovative company."