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Today’s Pickup: Ford invests $500M in electric-vehicle maker Rivian

Rivian hopes to debut its electric pickup in late 2020. The company’s progress was helped by a $500 million investment from Ford.

Good day,

Ford (NYSE: F) is ramping up its electric vehicle efforts with a $500 million investment in Rivian, which is set to launch electric truck and SUVs next year. The two companies will also collaborate on a battery-electric vehicle for Ford’s EV platform 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 said its R1T pickup and R1S seven-passenger SUV will provide over 400 miles of range once launched in late 2020.

“As we continue in our transformation of Ford with new forms of intelligent vehicles and propulsion, this partnership with Rivian brings a fresh approach to both,” said Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO. “At the same time, we believe Rivian can benefit from Ford’s industrial expertise and resources.”

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. As part of its previously announced $11 billion EV investment, Ford already has confirmed two key fully electric vehicles: a Mustang-inspired crossover coming in 2020 and a zero-emissions version of the best-selling F-150 pickup.

Rivian will remain an independent company.

Did you know?

Kenworth’s Chillicothe, Ohio, manufacturing plant produced 20 percent of parent PACCAR’s global heavy-duty production vehicles in 2018, turning out 39,800 units, a single-year record, said Harrie Schippers, PACCAR president and chief financial officer.


“In the past, they may have given 60 percent of volumes to rail and 40 percent to road, because they didn’t trust the reliability of the railroad to get their products across to market. This is where we’re seeing growth come from – from existing customers to a large degree, but we are gaining a larger share each and every day and, hopefully, that will continue.”

James Foote, CEO of CSX, on new business the railroad is attracting due to a lack of truck drivers to move freight

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Walmart has decided to develop its own supply chain network for delivery of angus beef to its stores. (Wall Street Journal)

Final Thoughts

Ford continues to remake itself one step at a time. The latest is a $500 million investment in electric vehicle maker Rivian that will include a platform for a Ford vehicle in the future. Earlier this year, Ford reached a formal agreement with Volkswagen to jointly develop pickups and light commercial vehicles as the iconic Detroit automaker seeks to refocus itself on its core products and seek alliances in other areas. Alliances are a growing trend among manufacturers who are realizing it is easier to pair up with a complementary partner than make the large investments yourself. It’s something we will continue to see grow in the future.

Hammer down everyone!

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]