On Wednesday morning, Ford announced that it will invest $500 million in the electric vehicle startup Rivian. Assuming regulatory approval, the two will form a strategic partnership, with Ford taking a minority stake in Rivian. Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of automotive, will get a seat on Rivian’s board, but more importantly Ford will use Rivian’s battery EV platform to build a new Blue Oval-badged BEV.
“This strategic partnership marks another key milestone in our drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility. 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” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian founder and CEO.
“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,” said Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO. “At the same time, we believe Rivian can benefit from Ford’s industrial expertise and resources.”
This is the second large investment in Rivian in recent months. The automaker, which won our awards for Best Truck and Star of the Show at this year’s New York International Auto Show, brought in $700 million in February in an investment round led by Amazon. The deal should also be seen as good news for Ford. Although the company has a line of hybrids, it has lagged behind rival General Motors in bringing a BEV to market, although it does plan to release an electric crossover called the Mach-1 next year, with an electric F-150 truck in the works too.
Although Rivian has just launched its first truck and SUV, offering its technology under a “white label” to other companies has always been part of its business plan, as Scaringe explained to me last year. In fact, Bloomberg reported last week that Rivian turned down a large investment from GM for precisely this reason; accepting that deal would have prevented Rivian from sharing its technology with other automakers and companies like Amazon.