Jeff Bezos Takes Historic Flight to Edge of Space: Here’s the High-Tech Vehicle He Drove to the Launch Pad

by John Jamison

One doesn’t simply show up to a space launch in any old car. That’s especially true for the likes of Jeff Bezos, who took the opportunity to show off a vehicle that will soon be seen on every street corner. The Rivian R1S is set to become the primary vehicle of the Amazon fleet, and what better way for Bezos to usher in the future of his company’s deliveries than by using it to deliver himself to the launch pad?

The all-electric SUV ferried Bezos and his accompanying Blue Origin astronauts to the primed New Shephard rocket in Van Horn, Texas. By all accounts, the launch went smoothly. Bezos’ excursion makes him the second billionaire to visit space in the same number of weeks. Richard Branson took his own journey on a Virgin Galactic spaceplane.

But the Amazon founder’s investment in space travel is far from his only endeavor. In fact, the Rivian SUV that he rode to the rocket is partially a result of Amazon’s money. The automaker is currently worth billions in its potential. And if it can deliver on an entire fleet of emissions-free Amazon delivery vehicles, the sky is far from the limit for the spacefaring billionaire.

Between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, the parallels are hard to ignore. Both of their companies have successfully developed self-landing rocket boosters, and both have developed, or at least financed, electric vehicles that they use at their launch sites. The progress of Blue Origin and Rivian, in combination with SpaceX and Tesla, are true indicators of the modern age. The companies have pulled off feats that would have been inconceivable just decades ago.

What Can We Expect from the Jeff Bezos-Funded Car Manufacturer?

Rivian was founded in 2009 by MIT mechanical engineering graduate R.J. Scaringe who continues as the company’s CEO. Rivian is manufacturing its vehicles out of a former Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, Illinois.

In contrast to its electric counterpart Tesla, Rivian is marketing its vehicles as rugged and adventurous. In fact, the company is hard at work on a pickup truck offering dubbed the R1T. None of Rivian’s vehicles are officially out for sale yet. Though Jeff Bezos was featured in a Blue Origin promotional video from May that saw him riding around in one of the new trucks.

He drove out to the landing site of one of his Blue Origin test flights. You can watch the video below.

“Adventure is life. [Your destination] could be fishing, it could be golfing, it could be taking the family out for lunch,” Scaringe told Forbes Wheels in 2019.

According to Fox News, the R1S that Bezos rode to his manned launch will cost roughly $70,000. Drivers can expect to get 300 miles out of a single charge.