Rivian announced an equity investment of $500 million from Ford Motor Company. In addition to the investment, the companies have agreed to work together to develop an all-new battery electric vehicle using Rivian’s skateboard platform.

“This strategic partnership marks another key milestone in our drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility,” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian Founder and CEO. “Ford has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, with Bill Ford being one of the industry's earliest advocates, and we are excited to use our technology to get more electric vehicles on the road.”

“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.”

Rivian already has developed the five-passenger R1T pickup and seven-passenger R1S SUV, designed to deliver up to 400-plus miles (644 km) of range, starting in late 2020. Rivian is now accepting preorders on its R1T and R1S.

Ford intends to develop a new vehicle using Rivian’s flexible skateboard platform. This is in addition to Ford’s existing plans to develop a portfolio of battery electric vehicles.

Rivian remains an independent company. The investment is subject to customary regulatory approval. Following Ford’s investment, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of Automotive, will join Rivian’s seven-member board.

Stephanie Brinley, Principal Automotive Analyst, IHS Markit, commented on the investment and noted that Ford’s $500 million investment into Rivian and the decision to work with the EV startup reflects the ongoing shift in the automotive industry toward more focused partnerships and collaborations compared to traditional mergers. She said, “Creating this type of partnership is a path Ford has been moving forward with aggressively for the past two years. Both parties bring specific expertise to the partnership, and have much to offer each other. This partnership model is particularly important for EVs and mobility technology, which are extremely capital intensive with a resulting scaled, profitable, and sustainable mobility business possibly a decade or more away. The move also reflects the viability of Rivian’s business model, which includes both selling the skateboard and producing its own vehicles." She continued, “Rivian is also free to use the Ford equity funds as it sees fit, and to work with other partners. Ford will benefit from lessons learned, as will Rivian. Rivian expects to be successful, and Ford should see return on that investment from a purely financial perspective as well."