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.
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.