Commentary & Voices
EV-Startup Rivian’s Profile Raised By Amazon’s Investment
Friday February 15, 2019
- Analysts at Cox Automotive believe Amazon’s investment raises the profile even further of Rivian and paves the way for entry into commercializing its vehicles for delivery fleets.
- “The investment is a drop in the bucket for Amazon, but it is huge for Rivian in terms of the amount of money and in terms of raising the profile of Rivian," said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst, Autotrader.
- “It’s more obvious every day that neither a tech company nor a car company is going to singlehandedly master the future state of transportation," said Karl Brauer, executive publisher, Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.
As widely rumored, Amazon announced a sizable investment in the EV-startup Rivian. General Motors had also been rumored to announce an investment but was not part of today’s announcement.
Michigan-based Rivian has been in the spotlight since the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, where the company showcased two compelling, high-profile electric products, a full-size SUV and pickup truck. In today’s announcement, Rivian said Amazon Inc., will lead a $700-million investment round, which does not include General Motors, but does include Rivian’s long-term investment partner ALJ.
Analysts at Cox Automotive believe Amazon’s investment raises the profile even further of Rivian and paves the way for entry into commercializing its vehicles for delivery fleets. Please find below commentary from our team of experts from Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.
From Michelle Krebs, executive analyst, Autotrader
“The investment is a drop in the bucket for Amazon, but it is huge for Rivian in terms of the amount of money and in terms of raising the profile of Rivian. Amazon is exploring ways to reinvent its delivery fleet, and Rivian’s electric-powered skateboard concept, which could carry a variety of body styles, offers an interesting possibility. While Rivian has shown a concept pickup truck and SUV, it could just as easily be offered as a delivery van. Electric vehicles for fleets makes more sense than individual ownership as routes, with charging stations strategically located, can be planned to optimize charging and range.”
Karl Brauer, executive publisher, Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book
“It’s more obvious every day that neither a tech company nor a car company is going to singlehandedly master the future state of transportation. It’s going to require the combined efforts of both industries, as GM’s early alignment and success with Cruise Automation confirms. Rivian’s current position is similar to where Cruise was when GM partnered with them in 2017, an early tech startup showing a lot of promise. If Amazon’s commitment today leads to even more investments – perhaps a sizable investment from an established car maker – it would give Rivian a unique position in today’s dynamic automotive market.”
Matt DeLorenzo, managing editor, Kelley Blue Book
“Amazon’s investment is a testament to the fact Rivian is the real deal in terms of tech and engineering expertise. For Amazon, this small investment is a good way to enlarge their bet on the EV automotive market without having to tool up a plant to find out if it will fly. And, over time, the Rivian investment could give Amazon a starting point to own and operate an in-house package delivery business.”
From Brian Moody, executive editor of Autotrader
“From what I saw at the LA Show, Rivian vehicles look like the real thing, great design with a very interesting powertrain packaging. The pickup design is really like nothing the industry has seen, with the battery strategy creating all sorts of opportunities for improved storage and functionality. With any great design, the question is always about production capability. Amazon does not bring vehicle production capability to the party, something Rivian would desperately need. Of course, with Amazon money, Rivian can easily make the Normal, IL, plant state of the art fairly quickly.”
If you would like to speak with one of the expert analysts from Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book or any member of the Cox Automotive Industry Insights team, please contact us.