Jim Farley discusses the Blue Oval's lucrative investment in the EV maker.
Looking back, Ford CEO Jim Farley must be quite pleased with the Blue Oval's investment in Rivian. 2019 saw the Dearborn-based carmaker pour $1.2 billion into the EV startup, a 12% stake which is now worth over $8 billion just two years later. Initially, Ford had hoped to introduce electric vehicles based on Rivian's 'skateboard' platform but since decided to part development ways.
Since then, Ford has started production of the F-150 Lightning and customers are already receiving Rivian R1T trucks. Still, this hasn't persuaded Ford to sell its lucrative stake in Rivian. As Farley told Bloomberg Technology, it's not something the company is interested in doing anytime soon.
Rivian, which is now worth more than Ford, has proven itself as a superb investment, and Farley was full of praise for RJ Scaringe, Rivian's CEO. "It's been a great investment. We really like RJ and what he's doing. The fact of the matter is we're both in the same segments. We'll work through that [but] I've always seen this as a strategic investment. There are a lot of possibilities that we could do with Rivian, beyond just building a vehicle together," said Farley. "We'll look at everything. Everything is on the table. Our lock-up period ends in the middle of May."
When asked whether the R1T could sway F-150 Lightning buyers, Farley appears unperturbed. The CEO remarks that while both are all-electric trucks, both compete in different segments, noting the R1T is more of a lifestyle vehicle while the all-electric Ford is aimed at consumers who want a workhorse. "E-Transit is [also] very different from [the] Amazon van... I don't really see us being cross-shopped initially."
Ford's CEO believes the USA has a long way to go before being a leader in the electromobility sphere. To truly compete with China and Europe, Farley said government and industry alike need to help consumers make the change over to electric.
"We need consumer incentives that last for some time to help the industry convert over. We need to build batteries in this country and get raw materials for [those] batteries. That will all happen as customers go electric. It's just 2%-3% of the industry today. It needs to be much higher to be competitive as a country."
Farley spoke to the news agency in Sonoma, where Ford recently unveiled its latest initiative to tackle the issue of sustainable fleet operation. The Blue Oval will fit Ford Pro charging stations to several wine farms in the area to raise awareness around how EVs and web-based fleet management tools can have a positive effect on agriculture in terms of improving sustainability and reducing the cost of fleet ownership.