After its $500M investment in the electric car startup Rivian, Ford will not only use its platform for a future electric vehicle but will also probably have it assembled by Rivian. In an interview, Ford’s CEO, Jim Hackett, indicated that Rivian’s Illinois plant would suit Ford’s assembly requirements.
Ford is pursuing a three-pronged approach with its electric cars: firstly, a specially developed e-architecture, secondly that in Europe Ford will partly use Volkswagen’s MEB platform, and last but not least, the partnership with Rivian.
Last year, the Rivian surprised many industry experts when it presented its fully-electric pickup R1T with impressive performance data at the LA Auto Show. Just one day later, the US startup revealed another fully-electric vehicle, the R1S, a corresponding E-SUV. Both models are expected to go into production at the end of 2020 at prices starting at 69,000 dollars (pickup) and 72,500 dollars (SUV).
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Rivian’s platform and business case made a lasting impression on Hackett. The Ford CEO said in the interview with MotorTrend: “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 – So think of it as architecture for the operating system of the vehicle.”
Ford wants to build its own body on the skateboard developed by Rivian – without necessarily following the example of the R1T. “You shouldn’t assume it’s a pick-up,” Hackett said. One might assume that an SUV is very likely. “It would be counterproductive for us to try and make what they have the capacity to do in the beginning here because they’ve got a factory in Illinois that meets a lot of our criteria,” he said.
Ford has been working on its own electric model for the F-series for some time, but there is no official timetable for this model. Photos and videos of a Muletto based on an F-150 can already be found online. At first, the F-150 will have a hybrid drive. Also planned is a fully electric SUV in the Mustang design but then on its own electric car platform.