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Rivian's distinctive R2S electric sport utility. (Photo courtesy of Rivian)

Electric truck startup Rivian capped off a remarkable fundraising year by announcing its largest round yet on Monday — a $1.3 billion investment led by T. Rowe Price, Amazon, Ford and BlackRock.

Why it matters: Rivian's cool-looking pickup truck and SUV prototypes grab attention as potential rivals to Tesla, but it's the automaker's decision to share its underlying technology — a versatile electric "skateboard" chassis — that has investors excited about the company's potential.

  • Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans based on Rivian's platform and Ford is reportedly planning a future Lincoln SUV based on it.
  • Rivian's business-to-business play sets it apart from Tesla and the sea of other electric vehicle companies trying to get off the ground.
  • In an Axios interview last year, Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said the "skateboard" could be modified to suit many types of vehicles — as well as things like jet skis or snowmobiles.
  • The platform, which includes the electric motor, batteries and controls, will also include automated driving technology in the future, he said.

The big picture: Rivian has built a ton of momentum since bursting on the scene in 2018. The latest investment is its fourth this year.

  • In February, it raised $700 million, led by Amazon, which announced its electric van order in September.
  • In April, Ford invested $500 million and said the companies would collaborate on a vehicle project utilizing Rivian’s "skateboard" platform. Ford is also expected to lend its manufacturing expertise as Rivian begins production at a former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Ill., in 2020.
  • In September, Cox Automotive, a technology tech and data company, invested $350 million in Rivian. It wants to collaborate on new approaches to logistics, service and digital retailing.

What they're saying: "This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy — we are extremely excited to have the support from such strong shareholders," Scaringe said in a statement Monday.

What to watch: Rivian's models, the R1T pickup and R1S utility, will deliver up to 410 miles of range and cost around $70,000. Production is slated to begin in 2020.

Go deeper: Rivian has a two-part strategy for success

Go deeper

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Trump confidante Matt Schlapp interviews Jared Kushner last February. Schlapp is seeking a pardon for a biotech executive. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A flood of convicted criminals has retained lobbyists since November’s presidential election to press President Trump for pardons or commutations before he leaves office.

What we're hearing: Among them is Nickie Lum Davis, a Hawaii woman who pleaded guilty last year to abetting an illicit foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low. Trump confidante Matt Schlapp also is seeking a pardon for a former biopharmaceutical executive convicted of fraud less than two months ago.

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