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New Rivian Investment Shows How Many Billions It Costs To Start A Car Company

Photo: Rivian
Photo: Rivian

There isn’t exactly a firm roadmap to starting a new car company, but thanks to the industry’s current electric revolution, we’re getting new opportunities to see just how much it all costs. After its newest $1.3 billion investment, Rivian has now raised over $3.5 billion with zero vehicles sold.

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Rivian, the electric pickup and crossover startup based in Plymouth, Michigan, has seemingly gone from nothing to quite something in 2019 alone. Today, the company announced a new investment from T. Rowe Price, Amazon, Ford, BlackRock Inc., and others worth $1.3 billion.

According to Automotive News, this is Rivian’s fourth investment round this year alone, including two earlier this year bringing in $500 million from Ford and $700 million from Amazon, prior to this latest round of funding. Ford already has plans to use Rivian’s “skateboard” battery and motor platform for an upcoming Lincoln model, and Amazon already sealed a deal for electric delivery vans.

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Here’s more from Auto News:

Prior to Monday’s announcement, Rivian had raised $2.2 billion from investors, according to investor website PitchBook, and was valued at an estimated $5 billion to $7 billion.

The company’s total valuation in the wake of the latest investment round was not immediately clear.

[...]

T. Rowe Price has placed other bets in the auto sector. It is a large Tesla shareholder and also has invested in GM’s majority-owned Cruise self-driving division. T. Rowe Price also invested, along with Amazon, in self-driving car software startup Aurora and British online food delivery company Deliveroo.

If you take the $2.2 billion invested this year before today and lump it together with the fresh $1.3 billion, that totals $3.5 billion so far. Keep in mind Rivian has only shown two concept cars—the R1T pickup truck and the R1S crossover—which Rivian plans to begin production of in late 2020.

The R1T was promised to start around $69,000 to buy before incentives, but it’s unclear if that’s for one of the 135 kWh and 180 kWh battery pack models planned for production next year, or if that would be the upcoming standard model, which will go into production later.

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Who has $4 billion and wants to start a car company? Email our tips line, we have ideas.

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David E. Davis