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Rivian's R1T pickup. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Electric vehicle company Rivian announced Friday the close of a $2.5 billion funding round.

Why it matters: It's another sign that the Michigan-based company is very well-positioned among the suite of electric vehicle startups with vehicles heading to the market.

  • The company is planning to soon launch production of an electric SUV and pickup, and also has a deal with Amazon to make a large fleet of electric delivery vehicles.

Driving the news: The funding was led by "funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc," Rivian said.

  • Backers include Soros Fund Management LLC, Coatue, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and Baron Capital Group, Rivian said.
  • Existing shareholders Amazon and BlackRock-managed funds also took part.

What’s next: Rivian plans to launch production of its R1T pickup, R1S SUV and the vehicles for Amazon next year at its manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois.

  • Amazon plans to buy 100,000 delivery vehicles from Rivian and hopes to have 10,000 operating as soon as 2022.

The bottom line, via Axios transportation reporter Joann Muller: Rivian is biting off an extraordinary series of manufacturing challenges all at once for a startup that has never built a vehicle. Even experienced automakers struggle to launch new vehicles smoothly.

Go deeper

Trucking into the hydrogen era

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

After years of unmet promises, hydrogen vehicles could finally be catching on. If so, it'll be a convoy of clean semi-trucks — not a bunch of quirky passenger cars — leading the way.

The big picture: We've been hearing about zero-emission, fuel-cell vehicles for decades as the answer to our worries about fossil fuels and climate change. But even now, the economic and practical challenges are still too difficult to overcome — except, perhaps, for commercial truck fleets.

7 mins ago - Health

Transplants rebound from COVID lull

Expand chart
Data: United Network for Organ Sharing; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

More than 41,000 Americans underwent an organ transplant in 2021, a new record and a 6% increase from 2020, when the pandemic caused a slight slowdown of the life-saving procedures.

Why it matters: There are more transplant patients than ever, and they are particularly vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID because of their compromised immune systems — although vaccines provide important protection.

7 mins ago - World

Senators make bipartisan trip to Ukraine after divisive Russia vote

Ukrainian President Zelensky. Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

A bipartisan group of seven U.S. senators met Monday in Kyiv with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials as Ukraine and the West brace for the possibility of an imminent Russian invasion.

Why it matters: The delegation is seeking to project a united front with Ukraine, following a divisive Senate vote on Thursday in which Democrats blocked sanctions Zelensky's government was seeking against the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline.