Amazon, GM in talks to invest in electric pickup truck maker Rivian

Popstar Rihanna whose boyfriend Hassan Jameel is deputy vice chairman of Rivian investor Abdul Latif Jameel Co. attended the company's November launch event in Los Angeles

According to sources talking with Reuters, the company may get an investment from two major companies, Amazon and General Motors, giving both minority stakes in the manufacturer.

Both Amazon and GM have their in-house electric vehicle efforts in the works, but neither company has jumped into the market of electric pickups yet.

Tesla now owns 90 percent of the USA electric vehicle market by revenue and 80 percent by unit sales. Negotiations are reportedly still taking place, but the sources claim we may hear an official announcement some time this month. GM declined to discuss any hint of a deal being reached but stated, "we admire Rivian's contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric future".

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors last August that an electric pickup is "probably my personal favourite for the next product" from the company, though he has spoken only in general about a potential launch, saying that it would happen "right after" Tesla's Model Y, which the company has targeted to start production in 2020. As a unique feature, all of the drive components, batteries, brakes, cooling, and majority of the suspension system fall below the height of the wheels.

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Big automakers, including GM, have not jumped into the market for electric pickups thus far.

Rivian, founded by MIT mechanical engineering doctor R.J. Scaringe in 2009, aspires to be the first USA carmaker to offer a mass-produced, off-road electric pickup, a product Tesla CEO Elon Musk also has been eyeing for quite a while. GM plans 20 new electric vehicles by 2023. Last Thursday, autonomous vehicle startup Aurora announced that it had raised $530 million from investors including Amazon, Sequoia and others.

Like GM, Rivian's electric vehicles use a skateboard-style platform. The world's largest online retailer has steadily increased its logistics footprint, building warehouses around the world and inking deals with Mercedes as well as cargo airlines to help with delivery. Should the deal follows through, they will be Rivian's first major USA venture investors, joining existing shareholders including Saudi Arabia's Abdul Latif Jameel and Japan's Sumitomo Corporation. Standard Chartered has provided the company with debt financing of $200 million while ALJ has invested nearly $500 million in the company; Sumitomo has invested an undisclosed amount.

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