Ford invests $500 million in electric auto startup Rivian

Ann Santiago
April 25, 2019

Ford previously announced that it was investing $11 billion in EV development and has confirmed that it will come to market with a fully-electric Mustang-inspired crossover vehicle in 2020 and a zero-emissions F-150 pickup truck. That's because Ford just announced a half-billion partnership deal with electric vehicle maker Rivian.

"This strategic partnership marks another key milestone in our drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility", said Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe.

Ford didn't say what type of vehicle it plans to build with Rivian's platform, noting only that the new model will be in addition to Ford's existing EV plans. As part of the deal, Ford's Joe Hinrichs will join the Rivian's seven-person board. It also closely follows the reported collapse of talks between Rivian and General Motors over a possible investment. Through a strategic partnership, Ford will develop an all-new, next-generation battery electric vehicle for Ford's growing EV portfolio using Rivian's skateboard platform. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.

The company's R1T pickup and R1S SUV that are supposed to have more than 400 miles of range on a single charge. They said it would not be one of the two BEVs Ford has already announced. But he said vehicles it develops with Ford will be distinct, with Rivian focused on higher-priced performance models in the active lifestyle space. Rivian will launch the R1T and R1S in the late 2020, with introduction to other global geographies starting in 2021.

Rivian has a large engineering and administrative operation in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth Township, Mich., as well as outposts in San Jose and Irvine, Calif., and Surrey, England.

The Blue Oval, which is desperately playing catch-up on all things EV, has concluded that it's best to partner with an electric auto disruptor, hence today's news.

Rivian is a Michigan-based "scale-up", rather than a start-up.

The company has set an annual target of 20,000 to 25,000 vehicles over the first two years of production, with the ambitious goal of eventually producing 250,000 vehicles per year.

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