The relationship between Rivian and Ford seems to be growing because Motortrend is reporting that Rivian is helping Ford develop their own EV, and it might be a SUV instead of an electric F-150.
Ford is investing $11.5 billion to introduce 40 electrified vehicles by 2022, of which 16 will be fully electric; the rest will be hybrids or plug-in hybrids. In addition to engineering its own electric vehicle architecture, Ford will use Volkswagen's electric vehicle platform to expand its European lineup and is working with tech company Rivian in the U.S. on larger vehicles.
"They're all teaching us different things, and the platform rationalization may come years later," Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett said in an interview with MotorTrend.
Ford has invested $500 million in Rivian and will use its skateboard chassis that provides a full electric powertrain complete with battery pack, electric motors, suspension, axle, and other key components to power a vehicle for about 400 miles. "Rivian is a really special thing that's teaching us about merging not only the powertrain, but the architecture that the ECUs [electronic control unit] and other things connect to," said Hackett. "So think of it as architecture for the operating system of the vehicle."
Ford will develop its own body to wrap around the skateboard.
"You shouldn't go down the path of assuming it's a pickup," Hackett told MotorTrend, which has us assuming it will be an SUV. Many of the details are now finalized. "At the senior levels it's pretty close," he said. "I think a lot of that has been settled, but not ready to talk about."
Rivian will build the skateboard and likely assemble the entire vehicle. "It would be counterproductive for us to try and make what they have capacity to do in the beginning here, because they've got a factory in Illinois that meets a lot of our criteria," Hackett said.
Hackett said overall he likes Rivian founder RJ Scaringe's clean sheet approach and thinks tapping into the tech company's engineering will speed up Ford's rollout of smart vehicles.