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Tesla, Rivian, Ford and Others Prepare to Attack the Electric Pickup Market

Rivian, Tesla, Ford and others take aim at the electric truck market
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The electric pickup market is revving up. 

Rivian, an electric vehicle startup that specializes in trucks and SUVs, said on Monday that it closed a $1.3 billion investment from new and existing investors, and plans to begin cranking out pickups at an Illinois facility in 2020. 

The fundraising was led by T. Rowe Price, with participation from Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com Inc. Report, Ford  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report and others. Amazon previously led a $700 million round of investment in Rivian, and announced plans to purchase 100,000 custom-built vans for Amazon deliveries. 

In a statement, Rivian's CEO R.J. Scaringe said that the investment "demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy." And Rivian, which was founded in 2009, joins an elite group of automakers taking aim at the market for electric pickups. 

Most recently, Tesla took the wraps off its Cybertruck prototype in a presentation that garnered largely negative reviews. 

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The truck purports to be bulletproof, but a live demonstration gone wrong resulted in a shattered window.  And analysts expressed doubts that the truck's Total Recall-esque design would carry wide appeal among pickup buyers. Tesla's Cybertruck enters production in 2021.

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In addition to producing EVs, Rivian also makes a "skateboard," a component that includes an electric motor, batteries and controls and can fit a variety of vehicle styles. 

In addition, long-established automakers plan to release electric trucks in the coming year or two. 

Ford  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report, maker of the consistently top-selling Ford F-150, plans to introduce an electric version of the popular model. While the company hasn't released full specs on the electric F-150 or a specific production timeline, Ford executives have hinted it could be on the market as soon as 2021.

Likewise, General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report confirmed its long-rumored plans to build an electric pickup. At a recent investor conference, GM CEO Mary Barra didn't go into detail about the forthcoming truck, but said it will launch in 2021.