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WGLT, an NPR station in central Illinois, is following every move at the Rivian manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. The electric vehicle startup has gone from stealth mode to big-time player in the auto world, attracting attention (and big money) from companies like Ford and Amazon.

Rivian: Amazon Leads $700M Investment

RJ with SUV
Ryan Denham
Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe unveiled the company's R1S SUV at the LA Auto Show in November.

UPDATED 2:50 p.m. | Rivian has announced online shopping giant Amazon is leading a $700 million equity investment in the electric vehicle startup in Normal.

“This investment is an important milestone for Rivian and the shift to sustainable mobility,” RJ Scaringe, Rivian founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Beyond simply eliminating compromises that exist around performance, capability and efficiency, we are working to drive innovation across the entire customer experience.

"Delivering on this vision requires the right partners, and we are excited to have Amazon with us on our journey to create products, technology and experiences that reset expectations of what is possible.”

The statement from Rivian comes on the heels of a Reuters report this week which said Amazon and General Motors were exploring substantial investments in Rivian.

Rivian unveiled its its two electric vehicles, its R1T pickup and R1S SUV at the LA Auto Show in November. Rivian plans to start customer deliveries in late 2020.

“We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer said in a news release. “RJ has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We’re thrilled to invest in such an innovative company.”

Rivian will remain an independent company, according to the statement. The company said it is not releasing additional details about the investment.

In a statement U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, whose 18th Congressional District includes Rivian's Normal plant, said the Amazon investment is great news for Bloomington-Normal.

"Rivian made a significant commitment to our community when it decided to produce their state-of-the-art products in Normal, expanding economic opportunity in McLean County,” LaHood said. “Rivian’s innovative work is second-to-none and I am encouraged by this investment that they will remain a staple business in central Illinois, providing jobs and opportunity for years to come. I look forward to being a strong advocate for Rivian and the electric vehicle industry in Washington, D.C.”

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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