Amazon bets on electric truck maker Rivian [Los Angeles Times]
Amazon’s specific contribution to the $700-million round wasn’t revealed in Rivian’s announcement of the deal Friday. It is the second auto-related investment this month for the online retail and technology giant; Amazon took part in a $530-million funding round for
Rivian is a
In an interview with Bloomberg, Rivian Chief Executive
Rivian’s success depends on continued growth of the electric vehicle market. Currently, EVs represent only 1% or so of total vehicle sales. And several companies have announced plans for electric pickups, including Tesla, though it has offered little detail.
Beyond selling its vehicles, Rivian plans to sell its “skateboard” electric vehicle platform and its electric powertrains to traditional manufacturers, similar to an adaptable platform that
Amazon’s investments in Aurora and Rivian make clear its intention to profit from the incipient move toward electric and autonomous cars. The potential size of that market is hard to quantify — forecasts range from hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars — but, safe to say, it’s huge.
Amazon could one day use Rivian vehicles for delivery, perhaps with Aurora self-drive technology. But that may be too narrow a way to view the investments.
This year, Amazon plans to deploy 100 electric delivery vans provided by Mercedes-Benz.
Amazon is also partnering with auto manufacturers to provide Alexa voice-command services to car owners; with electric vehicle charging companies to offer Amazon-organized installation of home chargers; and with
The retailer’s interest in drone delivery is well-known. Not so well-known is a patent Amazon applied for recently that would use drones to recharge electric vehicles. A drone presumably would arrive faster than a
Bloomberg was used in compiling this report.
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