Ford Invests $500 Million in Electric Vehicle Developer Rivian

Ford recently announced its plan a $500 million investment in the U.S.-based electric vehicle (EV) developer Rivian.

Rivian, which was founded in 2009, is one of the automobile makers that focus on zero emission technologies. It specialises in the development of SUVs and Pickup trucks and other off-road capable vehicles. Experts even consider it as a potential challenger to major EV brands like Tesla.

In partnership, which is still subject to the approval of regulators, Ford will pour in $500 million in exchange for a confidential minority stake in Rivian. The investment will also allow Ford to use Rivian’s flexible skateboard platform to come up with one of its new EV models as it pursues the expansion of its zero-emission vehicles portfolio.

The strategic partnership will give Rivian a significant boost in its preparation for delivering its initial two vehicles in 2020, the R1T pickup which can load five passengers and R1S SUV which can load seven passengers. Both of these automobiles are expected to have more than 400 miles of range.

Ford’s move would also further strengthen its plans to invest up to $11 billion in the development of EVs in the future. The auto giant’s CEO Jim Hackett said the company aims to develop battery-based vehicles, hybrids, pure battery-electric models, and plug-ins.

Even before the deal, Ford is already developing a high-performance electric SUV that is scheduled to launch next year, as well as an eco-friendly version of the Ford F-150.

Before this multimillion investment, Rivian’s talks with Ford’s rival General Motors broke down after GM “wanted too much,” such as exclusive rights to the EV developer’s technology.

RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian, is a friend of one of Ford’s board members, being a classmate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ford made him a deal allowing Rivian to continue carrying out its plans to develop its brand as well as potentially partnering with other automotive manufacturers.