Ford And Rivian Cancel Joint EV Development

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Rivian's R1T electric pickup truck. Image credit: Rivian

Ford and Rivian call off plans for joint development of Ford-branded electric vehicle, as battery life of Rivian’s Amazon delivery vans called into question

Ford has cancelled plans to build an electric vehicle with start-up Rivian, the company has said, following the success of its own first EVs.

Meanwhile, the range of the electric delivery vans Rivian is building for Amazon may be significantly less than expected due to battery issues, according to a report.

Ford planned to work with Rivian on a Ford-branded EV when Ford initially invested in the start-up in 2019, but has now shelved that idea, Ford chief executive Jim Farley told Automotive News.

The two companies last year cancelled a planned EV collaboration for the Lincoln luxury brand.

Rivian's electric delivery van for Amazon. Image credit: Amazon
Rivian’s electric delivery van for Amazon. Image credit: Amazon

Collaboration

Farley said the plans were shelved in part due to the complexity of combining Rivian’s electric architecture with Ford’s own software.

Ford invested an initial $500 million (£372m) into Rivian in 2019, in exchange for a 12 percent stake that’s worth $10bn following Rivian’s recent IPO.

The company has since launched electric versions of the Mustang sportscar and the F-150 pickup truck, both of which have been met with strong demand.

Ford said it has already made more than the 50,000 electric Mustangs it had planned for this year, and has nearly 200,000 deposits for the upcoming F-159 Lightning.

The company said it would double the number of EVs it plans to build globally by the end of 2023 to 600,000.

Electric expansion

In September Ford said it would build two battery factories in Kentucky and a campus in Tennessee to build EVs and batteries.

Rivian, meanwhile, recently began delivering its first R1T electric pickup trucks and is aiming to ship an electric SUV by the end of the year. Its IPO raised $12bn, making it one of the most valuable automakers.

“As Ford has scaled its own EV strategy and demand for Rivian vehicles has grown, we’ve mutually decided to focus on our own projects and deliveries,” Rivian said in a statement.

“Our relationship with Ford is an important part of our journey, and Ford remains an investor and ally on our shared path to an electrified future.”

Battery drain

Separately, the range of Rivian’s Amazon delivery trucks may be highly dependent on the weather, The Information reported.

The vehicles’ batteries drain about 40 percent faster than normal if the heating or air conditioning is switched on, a test driver told the site.

In filings ahead of its IPO Rivian said the vehicles would have a range of 120 to 150 miles depending on their size.

Ross Rachey, Amazon’s director of global fleets and products, told the site the test vehicles have less insulation than the final vehicles.

Driver surveillance

The initial vehicles have as many as 12 cameras inside and outside, with Amazon planning to add another four, Rachey said.

Those cameras are planned to include an always-on driver-surveillance system from Netradyne called Driveri, according to an official Amazon video posted by the company earlier this year.

According to Amazon, the cameras will use artificial intelligence to monitor drivers at all times and offer real-time automated alerts such as “distracted driving” or “please slow down”.

Amazon, which ordered 100,000 of the vans in 2019, is also a heavy investor in Rivian, disclosing a 20 percent stake in the start-up ahead of its IPO.

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