Electric automaker Rivian is looking to end the exclusivity part of its electric van deal with Amazon, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The e-commerce giant is the largest investor in the electric truck and van startup. The company supported Rivian early on, inking a deal to buy electric delivery vans (EDVs) long before the R1T truck or R1S SUV made it to market. As part of that deal, however, Amazon has the exclusive right to purchase the delivery van from Rivian. This year, however, Amazon told Rivian that it wants to purchase roughly 10,000 EDVs. According to the WSJ, this softer-than-expect demand is the reason why Rivian is pushing to end the exclusive agreement.
Spokespeople for both Amazon and Rivian responded to the WSJ, noting that the companies are partners who will continue working together. Neither directly addressed the purported talks.
"Our relationship with Amazon has always been a positive one," a Rivian spokesperson told the WSJ. "We continue to work closely together and are navigating a changing economic climate, similar to many companies.”
Having another product to sell would be a boon to Rivian. The company has recently scaled back its ambitions to conserve capital. It's put off its R2 line of vehicles, which were supposed to be lower-cost, higher-volume options to broaden the brand. Money's tight, though, and new products are expensive. But the EDV is a finished product, one already proven in the field, and one with a wide potential market base. The company is already configured for fleet sales—offering direct-to-business sales on a page that spotlights the EDV—and offers a fleet management software called FleetOS. The infrastructure to supply and manage large fleets of commercial Rivian vehicle is already built out. And since it owns 17 percent of the EV company, a new Rivian product could be a win for Amazon, too.
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