Reuters ) – Amazon.com said on Friday that it would lead to an investment of $ 700 million in the US electric car startup Rivian Automotive, in the e-commerce giant's greatest efforts on technologies with the potential to transform the automotive industry.
The agreement represents a major approval of Rivian's electric vehicle technology by the world's largest online store. Amazon hopes that Rivian will assist it in developing delivery benefits that will strengthen its logistics network, according to a person familiar with the case who asked not to be identified as discussing the confidential strategy.
On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Amazon and General Motors were negotiating to invest in Rivian. GM's conversations with Rivian on an investment continue, and some deals will be announced later. People who are familiar with the conversations said Friday.
The Rivian could eventually be valued at between $ 3 billion and $ 4 billion, one of the sources said
The Rivian deal comes as its much larger electric car manufacturer, Tesla, struggles to stabilize production and deliver consistent profits as it hits up his model 3-sedan, with pricing aimed at giving it mass market complaint.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors in August that an electrical pickup is "probably my personal favorite for the next product" from the company. But he has only generally spoken of a potential launch, saying that it would happen "right after" Tesla's model Y, which the company has targeted to start production by 2020.
Rivian revealed his electric R1
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos personally reached the Rivian founder and CEO R.J. Frightened last summer to express an interest in an investment, the source said. Since then, Amazon has increased its investment in the automotive sector, and participated in a $ 530 million funding round announced last week in the auto-driving auto innovation Aurora Innovation.
Amazon is looking for deals that can speed up customer doorstep regardless of spikes in consumer demand or lack of delivery personnel. Last year, Mercedes said Amazon had become the largest customer of Sprinter vans, securing 20,000 delivery contracts.
Amazon has also sought to win customers in the car. Amazon has enabled its Alexa virtual assistant to be installed in new models so drivers can dictate which music they want to hear and what tasks they want it to perform, hands-free.  Rivian aspires to be the first to produce a mass market electric pickup. It intends to start selling its R1T by the end of 2020.
Scaringe has described the Rivian vehicle platform as a skateboard that packs the trolleys, battery pack, suspension system, brakes and cooling system completely below the wheel height to allow more storage space and greater stability due to lower center of gravity.
He also said the company is planning to work with external companies to develop advanced self-propelled technologies, rather than trying to do it themselves.
Rivians Existing financial backers include Saudi auto distributor Abdul Latif Jameel, Sumitomo of Americas and Standard Chartered Bank.
Some existing shareholders participated in the funding round, Rivian said, emphasizing that it will remain an independent company.