Rivian among first companies to nab Amazon Climate funding

Electric vehicle Rivian Motors is among the first five companies to receive funding from the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund.

Announced inJune, the $2 billion venture investment program backs companies building technologies, products and services to accelerate the path to net-zero carbon emissions. 

In addition to Rivian, the other four companies are software motor company TurnTide, Canadian clean-tech company CarbonCure, as well as Pachama and Redwood Materials.

The amounts were not disclosed, but a spokesperson told FreightWaves the funding ranged from hundreds of thousands of dollars in seed and early-stage investments to multimillion dollar investments. 

“The Climate Pledge Fund invests in visionary companies whose products and services can empower a low-carbon economy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a press statement. “Today I am excited to announce that we are investing in a group of companies that are channeling their entrepreneurial energy into helping Amazon and other companies reach net zero by 2040 and keep the planet safer for future generations.”

The announcement comes as Amazon continues to face intense scrutiny for the pollution it generates by delivering over 10 billion packages a year. That figure continues to spiral upward as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has spurred a massive increase in online shopping.

Environmental groups and regulators are also circling e-commerce operations, with penalties on fossil fuel transportation expected to be implemented in many cities over the next decade.

But the Climate Pledge Fund is more than a way to fend off critics. Amazon is also on a push to corner the last-mile delivery electrification market, adding commercial vehicle electrification to a growing list of industry sectors the company already dominates.

In 2019 the company purchased 100,000 EVs from Rivian, with plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030. 

Amazon is also one of Rivian’s major investors, raising speculation that it may eventually acquire the Michigan-based outfit.

Rivian did not immediately answer FreightWaves’ request for comment. But in a statement, RJ Scaringe, Rivian founder and CEO, said, “Amazon’s commitment to addressing climate change is perfectly aligned with Rivian’s mission. We are proud to be part of the Climate Pledge Fund.”

Two of the other fund recipients will also help advance Amazon’s drive to electrification. 

Redwood Materials is developing a full process and suite of technologies for recycling end-of-life Lithium-ion batteries and e-waste into high-value metals and chemicals. 

Turntide’s motors reduce energy use by 64% on average by optimizing efficiency and control without using expensive materials or rare earth minerals. 

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