Rivian and Ford have flipped the bird to General Motors. Both the electric-car startup and GM’s crosstown rival announced on Wednesday a $500 million investment.
Ford’s $500 million investment comes after long-running rumors surrounding a potential GM-Rivian tie-up. Ultimately, Rivian founder and CEO, R.J. Scaringe, hinted Rivian walked away from GM investment due to possible exclusivity contracts. Rivian said it plans to build vehicles for multiple companies and automakers using its scalable skateboard platform.
That’s exactly what Rivian will help Ford do. Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed in a conference call that Rivian’s platform will underpin a new electric vehicle from Ford in the future. Details surrounding what kind of vehicle it will be were not mentioned. However, Rivian has a focus on trucks and SUVs. Ford also decided to exit the passenger car market, which is enough evidence to suggest the forthcoming Rivian-Ford electric vehicle will be a truck or SUV of sorts.
Rivian will provide the platform, while Ford suggested it will manufacture the vehicle at one of its own assembly plants.
The new vehicle is also separate from Ford’s prior announcements that it plans for a Mustang-inspired electric crossover and an electric F-150 pickup truck.
For GM, it’s a slap to the face. The automaker and Rivian were reportedly quite close to closing a deal on a substantial investment. As mentioned, it appears likely any sort of exclusivity clause eventually caused Rivian to walk away from a GM deal. The benefits would have been very similar in a GM deal, like the Ford announcement today. Rivian would benefit from GM’s manufacturing expertise, while GM would gain access to a platform and technology to bring electric vehicles to market quicker.
The investment also quickly transforms Rivian into a serious contender. Unlike Tesla, which has largely gone it alone to tackle the established legacy automakers, Rivian has decided to cozy up where it sees fit.