Ford is making a big investment in electric truck maker Rivian in order to get access to their electric vehicle platform, and we bet they’ll use it to make an electric pickup truck.
Rivian has something that most North American carmakers want: an electric platform that can be easily used to create battery-powered pickup trucks and SUVs. Rivian wants to sell this technology to as many people as they can, and Ford wants it to jumpstart their own electric truck-making capabilities. It’s a perfect match.
Ford just announced a $500 million minority investment in Rivian to gain access to Rivian’s technology. They’re specifically after that electric skateboard platform that underpins Rivian’s recently announced R1S and R1T electric vehicles.
Rivian’s skateboard platform is great in that it is a highly customizable chassis that can fit almost any body that’s put over it similar to how current “body-on-frame” pickups are already made. This takes a lot of the engineering out of developing a new vehicle; all Ford has to do now is design a new F-150 body to be placed on Rivian’s skateboard chassis, and suddenly an electric F-150 exists.
We already know that Ford was developing an electric version of the F-150, and Rivian had already been using F-150 bodies to test out their skateboard platform. It seems almost certain that Ford will adopt the technology to bring the electric F-150 to market a lot sooner than if they’d gone at developing it alone.
Rivian, meanwhile, retains its autonomy and ability to keep selling their tech to other car companies. This is the reason why negotiations with GM fell through as the other big North American carmaker demanded exclusivity in order to work together.
That might come back to bite GM as Ford gets a serious boost to their EV technology. This will also really help Ford cut down on its emissions and further enhance the brand’s appeal abroad where emissions standards are much stricter.
“We are excited to invest in and partner with Rivian,” said Bill Ford, Ford’s executive chairman. “I have gotten to know and respect RJ, and we share a common goal to create a sustainable future for our industry through innovation.”
How long will it take Ford to come out with their electric F-150? We say give them a year and we’ll at least have a working prototype on the road, if not a full-on production-ready version.