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Amazon's big bet on electric vehicle startup Rivian

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announces the co-founding of The Climate Pledge
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announces the co-founding of The Climate Pledge. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Amazon

Part of Amazon's sweeping climate change plan is to deploy 10,000 electric delivery vans made by the startup Rivian as soon as 2022, and 100,000 by 2030 — and perhaps much faster.

Why it matters: It's a major sign that that deep-pocketed players see Rivian as well positioned among the electric vehicle startups to cross the bridge into substantial commercial production.

  • Worth noting: Rivian has yet to begin commercial production of any EVs. Yet Amazon — which led a $700 million investment round in the company earlier this year — plans to start deploying them in 2021.

How it works: "Amazon’s vans will use the same battery, powertrain, and electrical network as the two consumer vehicles Rivian plans to start building next year, the $69,000 R1T pickup truck and $72,500 R1S SUV," per Wired.

Where it stands: Earlier this month Rivian snagged a $350 million equity investment from Cox Automotive, a big industry data and information company.

  • And this year Ford invested $500 million in Rivian, and the companies are working together to develop a Ford EV of some sort.

What they're saying: "Amazon doesn't make decisions like this lightly," Navigant Research analyst Sam Abuelsamid tells the Detroit News.

  • He called the move a sign to other companies considering fleet electrification that "Rivian is a company they need to take a look at if they're going to do this."

Go deeper: Massive companies' green commitments can't save the planet