Amazon Invests in One of Tesla's Rivals
2019-02-21 17:42 Thursday
Online retail giant, Amazon, is leading a $700 million investment in Rivian, a Michigan company founded in 2009 that is developing a battery-powered pickup truck and an electric sport utility vehicle. The company is considered as a potential rival to Tesla in electric cars.
The investment is the miniature of the fierce competition within NEV industry. Prominent automaker including General Motors, Ford Motor and others are also scrambling to introduce new electric vehicles, Tesla has become by far the leading seller of electric cars in the United States.
Jeff Wilke, Amazon's chief executive for worldwide consumer, said "We're inspired by Rivian's vision for the future of electric transportation. Rivian has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We're thrilled to invest in such an innovative company."
Amazon company ordered 20,000 Mercedes-Benz vans last year for its delivery partners to shuttle Amazon products to consumers, but those vans run on diesel, a fossil fuel. The company has also been facing pressure from employees looking to reduce its environmental impact, particularly in its logistics operations.
Amazon recently made a "significant" investment in Aurora, a California start-up that is developing self-driving technology. Aurora is led by Chris Urmson, who previously headed Alphabet's autonomous car effort.
"For Amazon, this small investment is a good way to enlarge their bet on the E.V. automotive market without having to tool up a plant to find out if it will fly," said Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor. "Over time, the Rivian investment could give Amazon a starting point to own and operate an in-house package delivery business."