Just three months ago Lincoln announced that it was going to build an EV on top of the innovative skateboard platform wielded by upstart firm Rivian. It was an offshoot of the recently minted partnership between Ford and the young upstart company, and spirits were high. But the environment has radically changed since then, and Lincoln has confirmed that it will cancel the model to better weather the storm of COVID-19.
The report was originally released by the folks at Automotive News with Lincoln representatives making the announcement to dealerships earlier in the day citing the “current environment” as a key part of its decision to terminate the project. The pandemic has unleashed a pummeling on the bottom lines of many different automakers, with Lincoln not being immune from the financial pain. The luxury brand originally planned to release the model in 2022 with the unnamed model being built on the same skateboard platform that would also underpin the Rivian R1T and the R1S SUV.
The partnership was so closely knitted that the new Lincoln was to have been built alongside the R1T and the R1S at Rivian’s plant in Normal, Illinois. Production at the facility itself was recently brought to a halt by the coronavirus, which is bad news for any models that were supposed to have been built there in the near future. This included the mysterious Lincoln model which would have needed ample time for the plant to prepare and retool the production process to accommodate it. Lincoln for itself never confirmed if the model was indeed earmarked to be an SUV, but considering that the Rivian sourced platform was designed to accommodate large and rugged vehicles, chances were strong that it would have indeed been an SUV offering anyway.
“Given the current environment, Lincoln and Rivian have decided not to pursue the development of a fully electric vehicle based on Rivian’s skateboard platform. Our strategic commitment to Lincoln, Rivian and electrification remains unchanged and Lincoln’s future plans will include an all-electric vehicle consistent with its Quiet Flight DNA.”
Lincoln has so far not revealed any details on this revised EV offering, but given the clearly indigenous source that the brand will go to for the platform, it is possible that it could either be based off the Mustang Mach-E platform or even off the larger F-150 EV if it ends up being a larger full-size offering. This choice would also play a factor into when the model will launch, with a Mach-E sourced derivative launching sooner since the bulk of the development on the platform has already been completed, versus the F-150 alternative which would require more development and time in order to pull it off.
“Our partnership with Rivian is strong,” Lincoln’s statement reads. “While the Lincoln electric vehicle did not turn out to be the right opportunity, we continue to work closely together with Rivian. Our strategic commitment remains unchanged and we will continue to work with Rivian on an alternative vehicle based on Rivian’s skateboard platform.”
For its part, Lincoln did not reveal what key factors didn’t lineup that caused the brand to abandon its plans, but we have a strong suspicion that financial concerns, especially the stiff losses that Ford has suffered since the pandemic began, were the driving forces behind Lincoln playing its hand. However, the fact that Lincoln is still pursuing an EV offering hints that we could eventually see some sort of vehicle, with the question of when being more prevalent than ever before.