Ford investing US$500M in electric vehicle startup Rivian

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Apart from Ford's investment, the companies have agreed to work together to develop an all-new, next-generation battery electric vehicle for Ford's growing EV portfolio using Rivian's skateboard platform.

The US auto maker has pledged $11bn to develop its electric vehicle portfolio, with plans for a battery-powered version of its bestselling F-150 pick-up and an electric crossover inspired by its Mustang sports auto.

Rivian's founder and CEO, RJ Scaringe, said the startup plans a "broad portfolio" of vehicles on its skateboard architecture, some of which might directly compete with Ford's EVs.

Ford didn't say what type of vehicle it plans to build with Rivian's platform, noting only that the new model will be in addition to Ford's existing EV plans.

Ford's investment means one of its execs will joins Rivian's board.

This is the second large investment in Rivian in recent months.

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Assuming regulatory approval, the two will form a strategic partnership, with Ford taking a minority stake in Rivian.

Rivian and Ford will partner on a Ford-branded electric vehicle.

Ford boss Jim Hackett said the partnership with Rivian "brings a fresh approach" to Ford's development of EVs and that the fledgling firm "can benefit from Ford's industrial expertise and resources". The company's launch products - the five-passenger R1T pickup and seven-passenger R1S SUV - will deliver up to 400-plus miles of range and provide an unmatched combination of performance, off-road capability and utility, starting in late 2020. They said it would not be one of the two BEVs Ford has already announced.

"There's a big push by the entire industry to make electric vehicles and there's a lot of competition downstream, so there will be a lot of choices for consumers", Michael Thomas Staiger, research analyst at Odeon Capital Group, recently said.

Rivian is a Michigan-based "scale-up", rather than a start-up.

In March, VW and Ford signed a deal to develop mid-size pickup trucks and are continuing discussions about extending the alliance to include electric and autonomous vehicles and mobility services. Ford employs approximately 199,000 people worldwide.

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