Amazon is not a company that throws around money on a whim, so it must see some incredible potential in Rivian and its product lineup. It’s also likely that Amazon got a peek at some strong preorder numbers for the R1T (pickup) and R1S (crossover) that eased any fears of investing nearly three quarters of a billion dollars into a company that many hadn’t even heard of just a few months ago.
"This investment is an important milestone for Rivian and the shift to sustainable mobility," said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. "Beyond simply eliminating compromises that exist around performance, capability and efficiency, we are working to drive innovation across the entire customer experience.”
"We're inspired by Rivian's vision for the future of electric transportation," added Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer. "RJ has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We're thrilled to invest in such an innovative company."
The comparisons to Tesla have been repeated by numerous pundits and analysts, with Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones saying that tackling the profitable pickup truck market would be a boon for an EV company – even one with an unknown track record. "The highly lucrative and US-dominated pickup truck market" is a crucial focal point for investors because of the "culmination of battery cost reduction, architecture, duty cycle, and price point," said Jones.
He added that Rivian has "access to talent & capital focused on the fastest growing segments of pickup trucks & SUVs," and is the best poised to become “the next Tesla.”
Both the R1T and the R1S use Rivian’s skateboard platform that houses the drivetrain, battery, and suspension components low to the ground to improve the vehicles’ center of gravity. The vehicles will be available with either a 105 kWh, 135 kWh or 180 kWh lithium-ion battery pack providing a maximum driving range of 230 miles, 300 miles and 400 miles respectively.
Those battery packs will be matched to up to four electric [hub] motors that will generate 400, 700, and 750 horsepower respectively. In its most potent configuration, Rivian says that the R1T and R1S can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in around 3 seconds, which is unheard of for a pickup truck (or crossover utility vehicle for that matter).
The Rivian R1T and R1S are currently available for preorder with starting prices of $69,000 and $72,500 respectively.