Amazon's investment in an electric truck company could spell doom for Tesla's dominance, a widely followed Wall Street analyst says

  • Rivian, an electric truck startup, announced last week that Amazon was leading a $US700 million fundraising round
  • Morgan Stanley says its the most significant event for electric vehicles since Tesla’s 2010 IPO
  • What’s more, the bank’s widely followed autos analyst, says it could be the most important event for the industry this year.

It’s only February, but Morgan Stanley thinks we’ve already seen the most important milestone to hit the automotive industry all year.

Adam Jonas, the Wall Street bank’s widely followed autos analyst says it’s the biggest thing to happen for electric vehicles since Tesla went public nearly a decade ago.

“We view Amazon’s leading of a $US0.7 billion investment in US electric pickup truck maker Rivian as not just the most significant milestone for EVs since Tesla’s 2010 IPO,” he said in a note to clients Tuesday.

“It may prove to be the most significant milestone for US autos for all of 2019,” he continued.

It’s not a hard comparison to follow. Sure, the Prius has been around for years. But for many Americans, a Tesla is their first experience seeing – or driving – a fully electric car. In 2010, when Tesla hit public markets, there were less than 100,000 electric vehicles on the road. Today, it’s getting close to 1 million.


Electric Vehicles are at a tipping point

Tesla might have spurred the segment’s growth, but now that Amazon is entering the race, it’s anyone’s game.

“Just when it seemed like Tesla’s lead over the competition in EVs couldn’t be any wider, we have Amazon making a bold move right into US-made EVs,” says Jonas. “We view Amazon and Tesla as competitors rather than partners/collaborators in advancing the future of transport.”

Rivian showed off two concepts at the Los Angeles auto show in January. The R1S SUV and R1T truck should be available by 2020, the company said.

And Tesla’s not the only automaker at risk of disruption.

“We see Amazon’s increased and more direct involvement in revolutionising a century-old propulsion and business model ecosystem to be more of a treat than an opportunity for our coverage,” said Jonas.

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