Rivian To Take On Tesla, Nikola With R1T Pickup Truck: Secures $2.5 Billion Investment

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Rivian moved a step closer to beating rivals Tesla, Nikola, Ford and GM to market with an all-electric pickup truck, securing $2.5 billion in funding. The latest investment round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates and also funded by Soros Fund Management LLC, Coatue, Fidelity Management and Research Co., and Baron Capital Group.

Shareholders Amazon and BlackRock also participated in the investment.

Rivian, which has delayed the launch of the R1T because of the coronavirus, has plans to come to market with the electric pickup truck in 2021. Its electric SUV, the R1S, will also arrive in 2021, along with 100,000 electric delivery vans for investor Amazon by 2030.

In the last year, Rivian has secured millions in funding from Amazon ($700 million), Ford ($500 million), Cox Automotive ($350 million) and others, but most notably, Rivian may be closer to delivering an electric pickup truck than most of its competition.

Ford has said the electric F-150 will come to market in 2022, General Motors’ GMC Hummer EV still is on the horizon, Tesla is still considering where to build the Cybertruck, and Nikola has yet to unveil a prototype of the Badger pickup truck.

Last year, Rivian made a splash by showcasing the electrified R1T across the U.S., showing off the truck and its capabilities to swarms of crowds. Unlike its competition, Rivian has flown under the radar, turning its focus instead on producing an EV that consumers can buy.

“We’re focused on making sure that we deliver,” RJ Scaringe, founder and CEO at Rivian told CNBC. “We really value active humility and letting our actions speak louder than our words.”

The truck maker already has opened up reservations for the R1T but has declined to provide total reservation numbers to date, telling CNBC only that the company is happy with the demand it is seeing. A $1,000 deposit is required to reserve the truck.

“At this stage, they’re farther along than pretty much anybody,” Scaringe said. “They’ve been working at this and developing this truck and platform for quite a long time. Certainly, longer than Tesla has been working on the Cybertruck or Nikola has been working on the Badger.”

Rivian will build the electric pickup truck in a 2.6 million-square-foot plant in Normal, Illinois – a former Mitsubishi Motors facility. The company reportedly has spent $750 million to retool the plant it bought in 2017 for $16 million.

While Rivian has no plans for an IPO, the company has seen rivals Tesla and Nikola’s stocks surge. Still, Scaringe maintains for the foreseeable future going public is not in the plans, but the company is “open” to additional financing to move its “aggressive growth plans” forward, he told the news outlet.

“For us, we’re so focused on launching products. Priorities one, two and three are launch the products,” he said. “We’re not planning or thinking about exit events, liquidity events at this point. We have access to private capital, which allows us to focus on execution.”

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