Ford invests $500 million in EV company Rivian

Rivian introduces all-electric R1S SUV at LA Auto Show in Los Angeles California

Ford is sinking a half-billion dollars into electric vehicle startup Rivian in a deal that has the companies working together on a new Ford electric vehicle based on Rivian underpinnings.

This press release features multimedia. In February, Rivian announced a $700 million investment round led by Amazon, in addition to $450 million raised from investors in previous funding.

Rivian and Ford will partner on a Ford-branded electric vehicle.

"Ford's investment in Rivian is a smart one", Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader, said in a statement. "I have gotten to know and respect RJ, and we share a common goal to create a sustainable future for our industry through innovation", he said. He said he was impressed with Rivian's "clean-sheet approach".

"We are learning a great deal from this wonderful company and its leadership", Ford CEO Jim Hackett said Wednesday.

Ford offered no details about what kind of vehicle it plans based off of Rivian's technology or when it will arrive.

Ford and other major automakers including General Motors have been boosting investment in the development of electric vehicles (EV) as Tesla and others eat into new auto sales encouraged by regulators' efforts to encourage a move away from fossil fuels. As part of that multi-billion investment, the company has confirmed it would roll out two key fully electric vehicles: a crossover inspired by the Mustang in 2020 and a zero-emissions version of the best-selling F-150 pickup.

Before Ford came into the picture, Rivian was in investment talks with General Motors, but fell apart. Following the investment, Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of automotive, is expected to join Rivian's seven-member board.

"The (electric) F-150 development has already started", he said.

Rivian employs about 800 people at its MI headquarters, California technology and engineering operations and the 2.6 million-square-foot plant in Normal, which the company bought for $16 million in cash from a liquidation firm in January 2017. Rivian will launch the R1T and R1S in the U.S.in late 2020, with introduction to other global geographies starting in 2021.

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