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GM, Amazon said to discuss backing electric truck maker Rivian

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2018: RJ Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian talks dur
R.J. Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian Automotive, shows the company’s R1T electric truck, left, and R1S SUV during the L.A. Auto Show in November.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Bloomberg

General Motors Co. and Amazon.com Inc. are in discussions to invest in electric truck maker Rivian Automotive LLC in a deal valuing the startup at between $1 billion and $2 billion, said people familiar with the matter.

The Plymouth, Mich.-based startup is working on an electric pickup truck, the R1T, and a companion SUV, the R1S. It debuted concept versions of each at the L.A. Auto Show in November. Rivian plans to start selling both within two years, assembled at a former Mitsubishi plant in central Illinois.

The truck — with a base price of $62,000 for 230-mile range — is aimed at outdoors enthusiasts. The company claims that with four 147-kilowatt electric motors, one on each wheel, it will have rapid highway acceleration — zero to 60 mph in three seconds — while being able to climb over rocks and handle gravel off the road.

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.

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Talks are progressing but aren’t close to a deal yet, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private.

GM has talked openly about possibly selling a plug-in pickup. When asked about the need to build one at the Wolfe Research Global Auto Industry Conference in January, Chief Executive Mary Barra replied: “Stay tuned.”

“We admire Rivian’s contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric future,” Pat Morrissey, a GM spokesman, said in a statement. Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and Michael McHale, a spokesman for Rivian, declined to comment.


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