Rivian has started 2021 with another influx of capital as it gets ready to begin delivering its vehicles.
The company has closed its first investment round of 2021, raising US$2.65 billion (A$3.43 billion).
Deliveries of its all-electric R1T pickup and R1S are set to begin this summer in the USA (our winter), initially available only in highly-specified Launch Edition models with more than 482km of range.
Rivian will also begin providing the 100,000 delivery vans it has built on its skateboard platform for e-commerce giant Amazon.
Bloomberg reports the privately-owned company is now valued at around US$27.6 billion (A$35.75 billion), according to a source familiar with the investment round.
Last July, it announced an investment round of US$2.5 billion. In total, the company has now raised US$8 billion (A$10.36 billion) since the start of 2019.
Investors in this first round of 2021 included Fidelity Management and Research Company, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Coatue and D1 Capital Partners.
Amazon invested $700 million in Rivian early in 2019, with Ford following in April with a $500 million investment.
Both corporations have subsequently made further investments.
Ford also made plans to collaborate with Rivian on a future vehicle program, though the planned electric Lincoln SUV was cancelled last year.
Rivian acquired Mitsubishi’s old Normal, Illinois factory back in 2017 and will produce its three upcoming vehicles there.
Base Explore and up-spec Adventure models in the R1S and R1T lines will follow in January 2022, at which point an R1T with 643km of range will be available.
Launch timings for the 643km R1S and 402km R1S and R1T models have yet to be announced.
Also yet to be announced are plans for Australia, although Rivian has previously said it wants to expand into our market eventually.
Rivian has previously announced its two-model range will offer a choice of three different battery packs, with capacities of 105kWh, 135kWh and 180kWh.
Early technical specifications revealed Rivians with the 105kWh battery are claimed to reach 60mph (96km/h) in 4.9 seconds. Total power and torque are 300kW and 560Nm, respectively.
The quickest Rivians will be the R1T and R1S equipped with a 135kWh battery. These will reach 60mph in 3.0 seconds and produce 562kW and 1120Nm.
The 180kWh battery-equipped models are said to have an electric range of over 659km, but produce slightly less power (522kW) and the same amount of torque. All models are all-wheel drive.
Both models can ford water up to 1.0m deep, while the R1T has a payload of 800kg and the R1S has an 820kg payload.
The R1T is the towing champion with a claimed 5000kg trailer weight rating. The R1S can haul only 3500kg.
On the other side of Indiana from Illinois, Lordstown Motors also plans to begin production of an all-electric ute this year and is also using a disused plant from another automaker, in this case General Motors.
Production of the Endurance is set to begin in September, though this ute is targeted more at fleet buyers. The company announced earlier this month it has 100,000 pre-orders from commercial fleets.
Fisker is another automaker planning on introducing both an all-electric ute and SUV. Unlike Rivian and Lordstown, however, it’s announced its first model – the Ocean SUV – will be manufactured by Magna Steyr.
Electric pickups are also coming this year from more established rivals. Tesla claims its Cybertruck could start reaching customers by year’s end, while General Motors will begin production of the GMC Hummer EV during our spring.