Ford will build an electric vehicle using EV startup Rivian’s tech

The Ford Motor Company has announced a $500 million investment in EV startup Rivian, and it will build an electric vehicle using Rivian's tech, the companies announced on Wednesday. The new vehicle won't influence the two EVs Ford has been developing, an electric F-150 and Mustang-inspired crossover, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said on a call with investors and reporters.

Specifically, Ford will build its vehicle around Rivian's "adaptable skateboard stage," which includes the battery pack, the electric drivetrain, and the electrical design that determination the startup's own EVs, the R1T electric pickup truck the R1S SUV (which touch base in late 2020). Ford will also receive a minority stake in Rivian as a byproduct of its investment. Ford has chosen what sort of vehicle it will build on Rivian's stage, yet it declined to specify.


Just two months back, Rivian announced a $700 million investment round driven by Amazon. Rivian was also in talks with GM, however the startup allegedly pulled out of the potential exclusive arrangement. Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe has said Rivian is making "several models" for different companies. In any case, while the arrangement with Ford is looser, Scaringe said Rivian is "particularly focused on the relationships we've currently assembled, propelling our own products, and ensuring our eyes are focused on execution."

As for any potential cover, Scaringe said the Rivian brand is "especially focused on a functioning lifestyle space, on an experience space" and that the vehicle with Ford "will be not quite the same as that."

Ford previously announced a $11 billion pledge to developing electric vehicles, starting with the Mustang-style crossover that is scheduled to be revealed not long from now. "We have a great deal of involvement in charge," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of car operations, said on the call. "But on the other hand there's a ton we don't have the foggiest idea, and there's also things we can still learn. We don't have every one of the answers, and we don't claim to." Hinrichs said there's "a great deal we can learn" from collaborating with Rivian. He will also join Rivian's governing body.

Hinrichs said Ford sees the arrangement with Rivian as a "significant chance" to get another EV out and about faster and less expensive than if the automaker had developed another of its own from the beginning. "One of the incredible benefits you get from working with a startup organization like Rivian, with RJ personally, is the chance to go faster. So speed is a significant piece of this," he said.


Hackett said he's "most impressed" with Rivian's skateboard innovation, and he praised the cleverness of the design, taking note of that Rivian had the opportunity to design its electric vehicles from a perfect sheet of paper. "They were not originating from what we would call the 'simple world.' They were just creating," he said.

"There's absolutely an open door for us to gain from Ford in terms of their assembling expertise, especially with regards to lightweight structures, and, of course, how they viably oversee creation," Scaringe said.

Hackett also said the arrangement with Rivian won't influence the automaker's ongoing partnership with Volkswagen, whichi ncludes pickup trucks. Ford has been attached to somewhere around one other EV startup previously: it held talks in 2017 with Lucid Motors that eventually separated. (Clear Motors has since gotten
more than $1 billion from Saudi Arabia's sovereign riches subsidize.)

Rivian left stealth mode in 2018, yet it has been in existence for about 10 years. In contrast to some flashier EV startups, Rivian didn't declare its first vehicles until it had secured an assembling office to build them. It also showed off those vehicles a lot later in their development cycle when it at long last disclosed them toward the end of last year.

Correction: This post initially said Ford would use Rivian's tech to build an electric pickup truck. The organization has not announced what sort of vehicle it will build. The post and feature have been refreshed.

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