Ford and Rivian are joining forces to develop a revolutionary EV, but...
Back in April, Ford announced it's joining forces with EV startup company Rivian as part of a $500 million investment. This will enable the two companies to co-develop an "all-new, next-generation battery electric vehicle" that will join Ford's expanding EV lineup, which will include 16 new fully electric vehicles by 2022, and use Rivian's flexible skateboard platform. No specific details about the new model were given at the time, but Rivian's experience suggests it will be either be an electric pickup or SUV as the company has ruled out developing a sedan in the future. During a recent interview with Motor Trend, Ford CEO Jim Hackett offered a few clues about the mystery model.
"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."
As for what form the new electric model will take, Hackett told MotorTrend that "you shouldn't go down the path of assuming it's a pickup," implying it will most likely be an electric SUV. After all, Ford is already developing an electric version of the F-150 pickup truck. Currently, details are still being 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."
As well as building the skateboard, Rivian is also likely to build 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.
Technical details are also still being kept under wraps, but Rivian's currently announced models, the five-passenger R1T pickup and R1S SUV boast some impressive specifications. Slated to launch in late 2020, both models utilize four electric motors delivering a combined output of 754 hp and 826 lb-ft of torque and a 400-mile range.
Ford is also collaborating with Volkswagen to use the German automaker's new MEB architecture that will underpin the latter's upcoming electric ID. vehicles. This will enable Ford to develop a small front-wheel-drive electric vehicle in 2023, but Hackett confirmed it won't be coming to America.