Ford buys $500 million stake in Rivian EV specialist

Published: 24 April 2019

► Ford invests big in Rivian
► Blue Oval buys $500m stake
► Two will co-develop new EVs 

Ford has announced a major $500 million investment in electric car specialist Rivian - and confirmed it intends to develop a new road car using Rivian's new skateboard platform.

It's a reflection of how the new-world order and the old are increasingly becoming intertwined. Rivian has developed a range of electric cars designed to focus on the great outdoors - a Tesla for the outward bound, if you will.

The Blue Oval, which is desperately playing catch-up on all things EV, has concluded that it's best to partner with an electric car disruptor, hence today's news. Their new strategic partnership will co-develop an all-new EV using Rivian's skateboard platform.

Rivian will remain an independent company and this is a 'minority investment', but Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of automotive, will join Rivian’s seven-member board, the two companies confirmed. 

Remind me... who are Rivian?

Rivian is a Michigan-based 'scale-up', rather than a start-up. It was founded by RJ Scaringe (above left, with Ford chairman Bill Ford) a decade ago and has been quietly developing a range of battery electric cars, using a team of talents poached from the likes of Jeep and McLaren. 

The Rivian R1S

'This strategic partnership marks another key milestone in our drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility,' said Scaringe. '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.'

Its innovative skateboard EV technology underpins an all-electric pick-up and SUV, both unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show. They are considered a calling card for the world's car makers - and Scaringe told CAR magazine that he was touting it around as a 'white label' solution to automotive and even lifestyle companies. 

The two Rivian models, the R1S (above) and R1T, will launch in 2020 and have a claimed EV range of up to 400 miles.

Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO, said: 'As we continue in our transformation of Ford with new forms of intelligent vehicles and propulsion, this partnership with Rivian brings a fresh approach to both. At the same time, we believe Rivian can benefit from Ford’s industrial expertise and resources.'

Ford has already committed to building a 'Mustang-inspired crossover coming in 2020 and a zero-emissions version of the best-selling F150 pick-up.'

You can read our handy explainer about Rivian here

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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