Electric vehicle maker Rivian valued at $27.6 bn in funding round

Rivian, an Amazon-backed startup producing electric trucks and delivery vehicles, has raised an additional $2.6 billion as it prepares to launch its first vehicles later this year
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Electric vehicle maker Rivian on Tuesday said it raised $2.65 billion in a new funding round valuing the Amazon-backed US company at $26.7 billion.

Investors included Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund and Fidelity Management and Research, according to Rivian.

"This is a critical year for us as we are launching the R1T, the R1S and the Amazon commercial delivery vehicles," Rivian founder and chief executive RJ Scaringe said in a release.

"The support and confidence of our investors enables us to remain focused on these launches while simultaneously scaling our business for our next stage of growth."

Amazon is set to launch its own electric delivery vans ordered from the startup.

The new round brings to $8 billion the total amount of funding raised by Rivian in the past two years.

"We have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of 2021, and with it, the exhilaration of Rivian starting to deliver its revolutionary products to customers," said T. Rowe Price portfolio manager Joe Fath.

The Rivian financing round was led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates.

Rivian has been targeting Europe for its electric vehicles, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.

"They have the brand, the backers, and the prototypes to aggressively go after this market," Ives said.

Electric vehicle sales increased by 20 percent last year and are expected to surge by 71 percent this year, as the number of charging stations also grows significantly, according to AI-powered predictive platform BlastPoint

"The Covid-19 pandemic was responsible for slower EV commercial expansion, but 2020 still saw explosive sales across Europe and China, and an uptick in US sales," said BlastPoint chief executive Alison Alvarez.

The news comes with General Motors announcing it is joining forces with Microsoft on its Cruise autonomous driving venture.

The companies have established "a long-term strategic relationship," and Microsoft will join GM, Honda and institutional investors in a new $2 billion equity investment round, GM and Cruise said in a press release.

GM is also building its own electric delivery vehicles under the new BrightDrop brand.