Ford Invests US$500 Million In EV Firm Rivian To Develop New Vehicle

Ford Motor
A bizarre looking Ford test mule was spotted recently near Ford HQ. The said test mule is a black truck wearing a manufacturer plate which look like a short-cab, short-bed Ford F-150 raptor but can also be the new Ford Bronco that the brand is working on. (Photo: Reuters)

Ford Motor Company is now ramping up its efforts to catch up to other auto manufacturers in developing its own full-electric vehicle. To achieve this goal, Ford has announced that it has invested US$500 million in the electric startup company Rivian. The investment is reportedly part of a partnership to develop a new battery-powered electric Ford vehicle.

Unlike other automakers, Ford currently does not have a fully-electric vehicle in its line-up. The company does, however, have a number of plug-in hybrid cars, which still partly uses combustion engines in conjunction with an electric motor. According to the company, it will still be moving ahead with its own development efforts for its future electric vehicles. Its partnership with Rivian, on the other hand, is for them to develop a separate electric vehicle that will eventually be added to their lineup.

The company's automotive unit president, Joe Hinrichs, mentioned in a statement that the company fully believes that the next decade will be a transformative one for electrification in general. The investment the company made is apparently just another step towards that future.

Ford recently announced plans to invest at least US$11 billion in the coming years to help it develop new electric powertrains and autonomous driving systems. The US$500 million it invested in Rivian is apparently part of that plan. The company also announced that it is now ironing out plans to work with German manufacturer Volkswagen to develop new vehicles, which will include full-electric models.

Rivian initially came into the scene in 2017, when it unveiled its fully electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) and pickup truck. The SUV called the R1S, and the pickup truck, called the R1T, will reportedly have a range of more than 400 miles on a single charge.

The Michigan-based electric startup has yet to start production of its vehicles but it is planning to release the first few models of the vehicles sometime in late 2020. Despite not yet being fully operational, the company has attracted a slew of high-profile investors, including a US$700 million investment from Amazon just this year.

According to the company's founder and CEO, RJ Scaringe, his firm is still open to working with other top automakers if they are interested. However, the company's main focus as of the moment is its partnership with Amazon and Ford. Scaringe did reiterate that his company will still remain independent. The CEO did not disclose how big of a stake Ford and Amazon held with his company, but he did reveal that Ford will be placing Hinrichs as a member of Rivian's board. 

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