Amazon, GM in Talks to Invest in Tesla Rival Rivian

GM and Amazon Eye Investment In Rivian

Plug-in pickup trucks look to be the next frontier in the budding electric vehicle industry as startup Rivian Automotive is said to be in talks with General Motors Co. and Amazon.com Inc. The deal would value Rivian at between $1 billion and $2 billion.

With consumer preference shifting to larger vehicles and trucks typically the most profitable models in the lineup for established automakers, analysts say the move to develop electric trucks was nearly a given. The Reuters source says the deal could be announced as early as this month but cautions nothing is final yet. In prior remarks, GM CEO Mary Barra said her company has only given a "tiny bit of thought" to developing electric pickup trucks. Hmm... In an additional, Google-like move to move beyond its core business, Amazon has been reported to have made an investment in autonomous-vehicle technology development startup Aurora (one of whose co-founders, Chris Urmson, previously helped lead driverless-car development at Google). In a statement, GM said: "We admire Rivian's contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric future", but did not further elaborate on the status of their deal with the electric vehicle manufacturer.

Rivian unveiled its electric pickup model R1T at the LA Auto Show on November 26, 2018.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a recent interview that Rivian could seriously disrupt the electric vehicle market which Tesla has largely dominated so far. Both are enormous vehicles that could well appeal to affluent customers.

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Rivian plans to sell a battery-powered pickup and midsize SUV by the end of 2020.

It seems Workhorse is closest to having an electric truck ready for market. Rivian's R1T electric pickup, which will reportedly go from zero to 60 in 3 seconds and tow 11,000 pounds, are expected to reach customers in late 2020. Being first to market could give Workhorse a significant advantage over the competition. ALJ has agreed to provide nearly $500 million in funding, Sumitomo invested an undisclosed amount, and Standard Chartered provided debt financing of $200 million.

Up until now Rivian has confirmed that it's receiving almost $500 million in funding from Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ), with additional funding from Sumitomo. That in itself is reason enough for optimism about the inevitability of the electric transportation revolution.

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