How Amazon is giving Rivian an edge in the EV industry

Following in Tesla’s footsteps, another electric vehicle company has made a name for itself, with a unique twist: Rivian Automotive.

Founded in 2009, Rivian focuses on premium electric trucks and SUVs with an emphasis on outdoor adventure. CNBC’s John Rosevear calls them the “Patagonia of electric vehicles.”

Rivian launched its first vehicle, the R1T electric truck, late last year. It is working on increasing production and plans to ship its SUV – the R1S – built from the same platform, later this year.

It’s been a long and arduous road to get here. But Rivian received major aid, including $700 million from Amazon in 2019 and $500 million from Ford a few months later. Initially, Rivian and Ford sought to develop a joint vehicle together, but the companies eventually canceled those plans.

However, the partnership with Amazon is still on track. Following its investment, Amazon said it would buy 100,000 custom-built electric delivery vans, as part of its move to electrify its last-mile fleet by 2040.

When Rivian went public in November 2021, it had one of the largest IPOs in US history. But the turbulent economy cast a shadow over its runaway success. As the market reacted to inflation and fears of a recession, the stock was hit hard. But with the deal struck with Amazon, some are confident the EV maker can weather the storm.

“When Amazon invested in them…but more importantly committed to buying all of these vehicles from them, they changed the market dynamics around this business,” said Mike Ramsey, automotive analyst and intelligent mobility at Gartner.

Last month, Rivian and Amazon rolled out the first of the electric vans. They’re starting to deliver packages to a handful of cities, including Seattle, Baltimore, Chicago, and Phoenix.

Watch the video to learn more.

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