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EV Startup Rivian Gets $1.3 Billion in New Funding


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Electric car startups are still attracting major funding from hopeful investors. The latest example: $1.3 billion landed by Michigan-based Rivian Automotive.

Rivian’s latest funding round was led by T. Rowe Price and included previous investors Amazon and Ford. The new fund bring Rivian’s investor support to $3.5 billion and propels the market value of the 9-year-old EV maker to roughly $7 billion.

Rough and Ready for 2020

Rivian has come on strongly in an increasingly cluttered international field of EV startups. Some of those contenders, notably Faraday Future and Nio, are beginning to run into financial strain because of their grandiose plans. Rivian so far seems to have avoided those issues by keeping its product plan sharply defined and manageable.

The company hopes to introduce two all-electric models, the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV next year. Both vehicles will ride on the same “skateboard” chassis. The startup says each model will be able to drive at least 400 miles per charge.

Rivian also makes a point of saying its trucks have been developed from the start in close association with “adventurers.” That means a focus on off-road utility and performance. Model prices are likely to begin at $73,000.

Banking on Investor-Customers

Several of Rivian’s investors also are active partners and/or future customers. Ford, for one, invested $500 million in the company last spring and has agreed to help the company launch production at the former Mitsubishi Motors factory it acquired in Normal, Ill. Source tell Reuters that Ford will tap Rivan’s EV platform to carry one of its upcoming EVs, probably a Lincoln-brand crossover model, in 2022.

Rivan’s factory also is slated in 2021 to begin delivering 100,000 electric vans for Amazon, which invested $700 million in the startup in February.

And in September, industry analyst Cox Automotive pumped $350 million into Rivian and will explore partnerships with the company in such areas as digital retailing, logistics and service operations. Such pursuits would mesh well with other Cox businesses, notably AutoTrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim auctions.

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