Amazon may be acquiring Rivian as Tesla pretends to launch pickup
This week, there were two interesting and related events in the electric-truck industry: Tesla announced it was pushing back its electric pickup to November, and Medium published a story claiming Amazon was planning to buy electric pickup company Rivian.
Tesla is always pushing back its vehicles and features, so another pushback isn’t too surprising, but the length of time they’ve been working on the electric pickup suggests there was no Tesla pickup in progress at all when Musk made his first announcement. In short, it looks as though Musk was simply trying to rob Rivian of deposits and investors by stealing their thunder with vaporware. It’s a good strategy, really; it’s a major reason why you see Teslas and not Fisker Karmas on the road today.
The Medium story had some interesting notes, including Amazon’s investments in other companies, its leadership in funding Rivian, and the fact that we know Amazon wants to dramatically expand its internal shipping services and to do so without pesky humans (or without well-paid humans, in any case). It’s worth a read and some thought. If Amazon does buy Rivian, they might not even bother with the pickups but go straight to commercial vans and heavier-duty trucks; or they might make the pickups to give Amazon a good name, while secretly funneling research, development, and production into eliminating one of America’s most popular (and still largely un-automated) jobs.
Time will tell; in the meantime, full-scale Rivian pickup production is getting closer, and in theory, so is Tesla pickup production. By then, perhaps Cummins will have its electric powertrains available in more commercial trucks, and one of the Big Three will have gone full battery-electric in its own pickups.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.