When Rivian first made its global debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, expectations were high, especially after the firm unveiled the R1T pickup and R1S SUV concepts. The all electric duo are poised to potentially give both established truck makers, as well as Tesla formidable competition in the still relatively untouched EV pickup and SUV market. But despite a $700 million dollar investment from Amazon, Rivian was still considered an outsider in the broader automotive industry. That is no longer the case, with the ink just now drying on a lucrative new investment from Ford.
We had our suspicions that the two companies were engaged in some form of talks, with Rivian reps openly admitting that recent EV F-150 test vehicles spotted in Dearborn were in fact test beds for the company’s skateboard platform technology, and seperate talks with General Motors collapsing just as quickly as they first began. The agreement reached today will see Rivian earn a cash infusion of $500 million dollars from Ford, with the Plymouth, MI based startup being tasked with building a battery powered EV for the American auto giant in exchange for the cash infusion.
“This strategic partnership marks another key milestone in our drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility,” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian founder and CEO. “Ford has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, with Bill Ford being one of the industry’s earliest advocates, and we are excited to use our technology to get more electric vehicles on the road.”
The new unnamed vehicle is expected to use Rivian’s skateboard architecture, and would play hand in hand with Ford’s broader plan to aggresively expand its lineup of EV and BEV vehicles. Dearborn has already confirmed two other cogs of this ambitious initiative, a zero emissions version of the best selling F-150 pickup, and an electrified Mustang inspired crossover, which is expected to appear sometime in 2020. Both are part of a seperate $11 billion dollar investment Ford made in this arena, and with Rivian on board as a partner, look for Ford to add some new angles to its bold green vehicle plans in the near future.
The last time Ford partnered to work on a system was with Toyota. Ford got what they needed from Toyota and ran. Rivian will be the next victim.