Rivian, the electric-vehicle start-up, which has enlisted the support of both Amazon and Ford Motor Co., announced Monday it received a $1.3 billion investment led by T. Rowe Price, the mutual fund company.
It was the fourth large investment in Rivian this year and the company’s largest funding round so far. Amazon and Ford Motor also took part in the latest round.
“This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy — we are extremely excited to have the support from such strong shareholders,” R.J. Scaringe, Rivian’s founder and chief executive, said in a news release.
The funding is a vote of confidence in Rivian, which expects to start delivering a truck and a sport-utility vehicle next year. But it also underscores the company’s need for capital. Investments in the company in 2019 have raised $2.85 billion, observers said.
Rivian’s plans call for building the all-electric pickup R1T and the R1S SUV in late 2020 at the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, which is now being re-fitted for production of electric vehicles.
The Rivian designs include a chassis with electric motors, batteries, and controls that can fit into a variety of body styles. Rivian had a valuation of $5 billion to $7 billion before this round and has set itself up for a duel with Tesla in the key truck and utility-vehicle segments, which are now the dominant hunting grounds for new vehicle buyers in the U.S.
Tesla launched its squared-off, slab-sided, all-electric “Cybertruck” at a press event outside Los Angeles last month as Tesla founder Elon Musk moved aggressively to cut off some of the publicity building around a new wave electric vehicles scheduled to debut in 2020, among them vehicles such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Rivian’s own utility vehicle.
Rivian claims its electric pickup can travel more than 400 miles on a single charge, carry nearly 1,800 pounds of payload and can tow another 11,000 pounds. The most expensive version of the Cybertruck can carry 3,500 pounds and tow 14,000 pounds, while traveling 500 miles on a single charge. The base model will have a range of 250 miles, according to information released by Tesla.
Meanwhile, Ford, the leader in pickup trucks for more four decades, is also developing an electric version of its own classic pickup, the F-150, which it says it expects to roll out “in a few years.” Its primary rival, Chevrolet, also is preparing to launch all-electric pickup truck in the next couple of years.
Additionally, Amazon placed an order with Rivian earlier this year to produce 100,000 electric delivery vans as part of the online retailer’s “climate pledge.”