Amazon and General Motors are reportedly in talks to invest in electric car manufacturer Rivian, which could spell trouble for Tesla.
CNBC reports that both Amazon and General Motors are in talks with Rivian Automotive LLC to invest between $1 billion and $2 billion in the company; a move which could seriously affect Rivian’s main rival, Elon Musk’s Tesla. If the deal goes ahead, Amazon and GM would hold minority stakes in Rivian providing the company with a huge financial boost as it aims to produce the first consumer-focused electric pickup truck.
Sources claim that the deal could go ahead as early as this month, but final decisions have not yet been made. In a statement, GM said: “We admire Rivian’s contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric future,” but did not further elaborate on the status of their deal with the electric car manufacturer. In August, Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussed the possibilities of Tesla producing its own electric pickup truck stating that the idea is “probably my personal favorite for the next product.” Musk added that a pickup truck model would not be considered until the company had produced their Model Y vehicle which is scheduled to start production in 2020.
Rivian plans to begin selling its R1T pickup truck in the fall of 2020. The company is currently backed by Abdul Latif Jameel Co (ALJ), Sumitomo Corp of Americas and Standard Chartered Bank. Standard Chartered has provided the company with debt financing of $200 million while ALJ has invested almost $500 million in the company; Sumitomo has invested an undisclosed amount.
Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a recent interview that Rivian could seriously disrupt the electric vehicle market which Tesla has largely dominated so far. Jonas stated that Rivian is likely to be “the next serious competition from a ‘clean sheet’ start-up with access to talent & capital focused on the fastest growing segments of pickup trucks & SUVs.”
Jonas said that Morgan Stanley has a “strong belief that all-electric vehicle architecture will need a truly ‘clean sheet’ approach” in order to compete with Tesla, instead of “adapting existing legacy [original equipment manufacturer] architecture.” Jonas added: “We believe companies like Rivian will take elevated importance in investors’ minds as EVs become the focus of OEM investment and strategy.”