DETROIT (AP) — Ford is sinking a half-billion dollars into electric vehicle startup Rivian in a deal that has the companies working together on a new Ford electric vehicle based on Rivian underpinnings.
Ford Motor Co. will become a minority partner in Rivian, which is based outside of Detroit and recently rolled out a new electric pickup truck and an SUV that will go on sale late next year.
The tie-up is another sign that automakers and tech companies are pairing up to share the huge capital costs of developing electric vehicles and even those that drive themselves. Ford and Rivian executives both said there’s room for the partnership to grow and for the companies to share expertise.
“We are learning a great deal from this wonderful company and its leadership,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said Wednesday. “We’re open-minded to its fresh approach to electric vehicles.”
Rivian CEO and founder RJ Scaringe said his company will benefit from Ford’s manufacturing and lightweight vehicle expertise. The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker’s top-selling Ford F-Series pickup truck has an aluminum body that shaved off as much as 700 pounds from the previous version of the truck.
Rivian will remain an independent company. But Ford President of Automotive Joe Hinrichs will get a seat on the startup’s seven-member board. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.
Scaringe said the Ford deal was separate from a $700 million investment from Amazon that was announced in February.