While Rivian is best known for its fancy electric pickup truck, a “significant” portion of its near-term revenue will come from an exclusive deal with Amazon. The small startup is set to build up to 100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon by 2024, but there’s something weird going on—Rivian now says it will take electric delivery van orders for non-Amazon companies.
On November 5th, Rivian added a new “Fleet” page to its website. This page encourages businesses to purchase large numbers of “commercial vans,” with orders beginning in 2022 and deliveries starting the year after.
But offering delivery vehicles to random businesses should violate Rivian’s deal with Amazon. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the companies state that Amazon holds four years of exclusive rights to Rivian’s delivery van, starting after the first batch is produced. The company also gets first dibs (right to refusal) on Rivian delivery van sales for two years after its four-year exclusivity period ends.
It seems that Rivian has found an interesting workaround for its exclusive deal with Amazon. Either that, or the companies have reached an agreement—this is the more reasonable explanation, by the way. Amazon says that it owns 20% of Rivian, so it could benefit by expanding the company’s sales portfolio and market share.
Not to mention, Rivian is about to go public. Investors may be more excited about the company if it comes to market with a real sales plan that doesn’t rely too heavily on Amazon. (Or the consumer market, for that matter. Early reports indicate that Rivian’s manufacturing volume is very low; it’s only producing a handful of consumer EVs per day.)
Still, there may be a hint of exclusivity here. Rivian isn’t offering businesses its “delivery vehicles;” it’s offering “commercial vehicles” that just happen to look the Amazon van. Maybe Rivian will sell these electric vans to non-delivery businesses and cut out Amazon competitors, like UPS or FedEx.
If Rivian and Amazon have reached some kind of agreement here, we’ll probably learn about it when the company goes public (reportedly) next week. Either way, we may see a lot more Rivian EVs driving around in the mid-2020s than we previously expected.