T. Rowe Price Invests $1.3 Billion In Rivian EV Startup As It Dumped Tesla In 2019

Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. plowed nearly $1.3 billion in the latest investment round into electric vehicle (EV) startup Rivian on Monday, reported Reuters

T. Rowe and BlackRock Inc. were the two major players in the latest investment round for the Plymouth, Michigan-based company as it gears up to compete with Tesla.

"This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology, and strategy," Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said in a statement.

T. Rowe spent the first half of 2019 dumping at least 80% of its shares of Tesla, while it has quietly funded companies that could be considered future competitors in the race to develop EVs. 

Besides Rivian, the investment firm has made an equity investment in Cruise, the autonomous-automobile startup of General Motors Co. It has also invested in autonomous-vehicle startup Aurora Innovation Inc., whose CEO helped Alphabet build Waymo. 

"T. Rowe Price is excited to invest in Rivian as it moves the innovation frontier forward with its compelling sustainable transport solutions for both consumers and businesses," T. Rowe Price Growth Stock Fund Portfolio Manager Joe Fath said. 

Amazon recently ordered 100,000 EV delivery vehicles from Rivian. The first Amazon EV vans will hit the roads in 2021. 

Ford invested $500 million in Rivian in April and will support the startup in ramping up production in 2020. 

"We want to maintain a meaningful value in the ownership and future of that company," Ford spokesman T.R. Reid said.

Sources told Reuters last month that Rivian will be building a battery-powered Lincoln SUV, expected to be released in 2H22.

And as Elon Musk pumps shares of Tesla to $420.69, Tesla's biggest institutional investor, Baillie Gifford, recently said Musk needs help running the company.

"He needs help, and I mean that psychologically as much as practically," said Gifford.

T. Rowe's quick jump in 2019 from Tesla to Rivian shows the competition is quickly expanding, and Musk's EV domination is likely to fade in the early 2020s.