Ford Motor said on Wednesday it was investing $500 million in USA electric pickup truck startup Rivian Automotive LLC, becoming the latest deep pocket investor in the firm, which is seen as a potential rival to Silicon Valley's Tesla Inc. GM reportedly had been interested in becoming an equity investor in Rivian, much like Amazon, which invested $700 million in the startup in February.
It's unclear if the new Rivian-based EV will be built at a Ford factory or Rivian's ex-Mitsubishi facility in Normal, Illinois. They're due next year.
"We are excited to invest in and partner with Rivian". Two confirmed vehicles as part of that $11 billion investment into EVs include the Mustang-inspired crossover and a zero-emissions F-150 pickup truck. Following the investment, Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of Automotive, will join Rivian's seven-member board. He says Rivian will benefit from Ford's manufacturing expertise and resources.
Rivian's CEO and founder RJ Scaringe already has Australia pegged as an ideal market for his startup's rough-and-ready electric vehicles - and another confirmation that an Australian launch is on the way has now come from Rivian's chief engineer, Brian Gase.
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There are no details yet on the type of vehicle the firms will work on, although it will be "all-new". The five-seat pickup is aimed at the market for off-road capable trucks with outdoorsy features, a market Tesla has not yet entered.
Hackett said he was impressed with Rivian's "clean-sheet" approach.
The Ford investment - the first from an automaker - brings more than capital to the startup electric truck manufacturer, adding a major client to the mix as Rivian seeks to gain traction. They are considered a calling card for the world's auto makers - and Scaringe told vehicle magazine that he was touting it around as a "white label" solution to automotive and even lifestyle companies. "And, of course, sport utility vehicles are another big opportunity the two could collaborate on", Michelle Krebs, executive analyst with Autotrader, said in an emailed statement. "The Amazon investment in the Rivian mix may well give Ford an in with the delivery services, possibly with electric cargo vans".