Electric vehicle start-up Rivian has attracted a $350M million investment from Cox Automotive as sit prepares for the launch of production late next year.
The investment by Cox, a global automotive services company based in Atlanta, Georgia, follows the $500 million invested by Ford Motor Co. and $700 million from Amazon earlier this year. Rivian remains an independent company but Cox Automotive will add a representative to Rivian’s board. It’s the first time Cox has invested directly in an automaker.
Cox and Rivian are planning to explore partnership opportunities in digital retailing, service operations and logistics, officials from the two companies said in their announcement.
“We are building a Rivian ownership experience that matches the care and consideration that go into our vehicles,” said RJ Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian.
“As part of this, we are excited to work with Cox Automotive in delivering a consistent customer experience across our various touchpoints. Cox Automotive’s global footprint, service and logistics capabilities, and retail technology platform make them a great partner for us.”
Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of media-giant Cox Enterprises, which owns 30 automotive brands, including Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Pivet, RideKleen and Manheim.
“We are excited by Rivian’s unique approach to building an electrified future and to be part of the positive impact its products will bring to our roads and the world around us,” said Sandy Schwartz, president of Cox Automotive.
“This investment complements Cox Automotive’s own commitment to environmental change through our Cox Conserves efforts.”
Rivian, which is sometimes identified as a light-truck oriented challenger to Tesla, has developed two clean sheet electric vehicles, the R1T truck and the R1S SUV. Designed on a flexible skateboard platform, the R1T and R1S will each be available with up to 400 miles of range and an unmatched combination of off-road utility and high performance.
“With the electrification of vehicles set to play a significant role in the new mobility future, this partnership opens another channel of discovery and learning for Cox Automotive,” said Joe George, president of Cox Automotive Mobility Group.
“Advancements in battery technology and the electrification of fleets are two of our primary focus areas, and we believe this relationship will prove to be mutually beneficial.”
Rivian has more than 1000 people at development centers in Plymouth, Michigan; San Jose and Irvine, California; and Surrey, England; along with a 2.6-million-square-foot manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. Rivian will launch the R1T and R1S in the U.S. in late 2020, with introduction to other countries starting in 2021.