Amazon had better watch out.
We all know that Rivian builds vans for Amazon, or that it is at least trying to. In addition to producing the R1T truck, these delivery vans will be the face of Amazon on the streets in the coming years. They're also electric, as the only gas-powered machine at Rivian is the generator they use when the power's out.
Now, Mercedes is partnering with Rivian to build yet more vans. Perhaps it's time to drop an "i" from the Rivian name. The two brands have announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding, committing to "cooperate on the production of electric vans."
If you don't speak business, a memorandum of understanding isn't really much of anything. It's just a document that says, in effect, "we two parties agree to work together and collaborate on X." However, this new project sounds like it won't be a Sprinter van. Or a Rivian van.
Instead, the brands say that "the companies intend to establish a new joint venture manufacturing company" with the purpose of investing in and operating a European factory to produce "large electric vans" for both Mercedes and Rivian. Additionally, the new venture will result in a totally new, all-electric facility to produce the vans, which will use an existing Mercedes site in Central/Eastern Europe.
Both vans will be uniquely Rivian and Mercedes produced on each brand's respective vehicle architecture. Mercedes will use its VAN.EA (MB Vans Electric Architecture), and Rivian will use its Rivian Light Van (RLV) platform. However, further collaboration is still possible, with the companies saying that "further options for increased synergies from the joint venture will also be explored."
"We're delighted to be partnering with Mercedes-Benz on this project. Mercedes-Benz is one of the world's best known and respected automotive companies, and we believe that together we will produce truly remarkable electric vans which will not only benefit our customers but the planet," said Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe.
"As a pioneer in the field of locally emission-free transportation Mercedes-Benz Vans has gained broad experience in producing and launching eVans since 2010," said Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "Now we are accelerating the transformation to a fully electric product portfolio. From 2025 onwards, all vans based on our new architecture VAN.EA will be electric-only. I am delighted that as part of this transformation we are now joining forces with Rivian."
Mercedes already makes four electric van offerings, including an eSprinter. The two brands say that these new vans won't be priced like much of their respective consumer vehicle lineups. The goal here is to optimize cost efficiency to produce affordable vans for widespread use.