At a time when most automotive brands are enhancing their production facilities to enable electric incarnations of existing models, Ford have scored a bit of a double whammy. With its $500 million investment in electric vehicle startup Rivian, the brand is all set to produce an ‘all-new’ Ford-branded electric vehicle using the startup’s skateboard platform.
It’s a mutually beneficial collaboration. For Ford, it’s a fast track to becoming a truly EV-oriented company, as it doesn’t have to design multiple platforms (or heavily modify an existing platform) to create zero-emissions vehicles for a wider audience, and get an early lead over rival automakers.
As for Rivian, which remains an independent company, with launches like the five-passenger R1T pickup and seven-passenger R1S SUV, this investment could help it become Tesla’s chief rival in the burgeoning electric-pickup market.
As part of its previously announced $11 billion EV investment, Ford already has confirmed two key fully electric vehicles: a Mustang-inspired crossover coming in 2020 and a zero-emissions version of the best-selling F-150 pickup. The latter could well be fast tracked courtesy the Rivian partnership.
Following Ford’s investment, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of Automotive, will join Rivian’s seven-member board.