Ford said it will use Rivian's "skateboard" - a chassis that bundles electric motor, batteries and controls - to build a new vehicle for North America. Those vehicles include a battery-powered F-150 pickup and a crossover that Ford says is inspired by its Mustang sports auto. In the US, Ford has shifted its focus to pick-ups and SUVs, and it's now developing an electric version of its hugely popular F-150.
Ford offered no details about what kind of vehicle it plans based off of Rivian's technology or when it will arrive.
"At the same time, we believe Rivian can benefit from Ford's industrial expertise and resources", Hackett noted. Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of Automotive, will be the Ford representative joining Rivian's seven-member board.
Rivian will remain an independent company after Ford's investment, which is subject to customary regulatory approval.
"There's an opportunity for Ford to learn from us, and there's an opportunity for us to learn from Ford", Rivian CEO and founder R.J. Scaringe added during the conference call. In February, Rivian announced a $700 million investment round led by Amazon, in addition to $450 million raised from investors in previous funding.
On Wednesday, Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett said the deal with Rivian does not affect Ford's discussions with Volkswagen AG about sharing the German automaker's electric vehicle architecture.
Hinrichs said the deal allows Ford to save money and speed up the arrival of its upcoming crossover EV, and he left open the possibility that the partnership could broaden beyond one vehicle, saying this was the "first of many pieces of news" he hoped both companies would share.
"They can multitask", Krebs said by phone.
Scaringe said Rivian has plans for lower-cost vehicles in the future, and both companies said they likely would have products that compete for buyers. Rivian has development centers in Plymouth, Mich.; San Jose, Calif.; Irvine, Calif.; and Surrey, England; along with a 2.6-million-square-foot manufacturing plant in Normal, Ill.
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan.