Electric vehicle developer Rivian is seen by many as a start-up venture, it isn’t because it was founded 10 years ago. Back in 2009 electric cars were not taken seriously, Elon Musk was seen as a here-today-gone-tomorrow news story and the future was either diesel or petrol. That’s all changed, over the last three years as the momentum towards an electric car future has gathered steam.
Rivian has gone from a few people to over 750 full-time employees and has received investment from Saudi businesses to Amazon. Now Ford has joined in on the investment spree splashing out $500m USD bringing a total of $1.2bn USD worth of investment into Rivians growing bank balance.
Yet Rivian has not even built an electric vehicle. The company’s main line of business is developing electric vehicle technologies. Autonomous technology is one area. Autonomous technology will become a multi-billion dollar industry in a few years time.
Rivian also debuted the R1T and R1S pickup and SUV concepts in 2018. It isn’t clear if the latter two will make it into production. However, the underlying technology, the chassis, electric powertrain, batteries, and components are what Rivian is really selling.
Rivian intends to license its electric vehicle chassis technology to vehicle manufacturers. Enter Ford and $500m USD, Ford intends to build an electric Pickup and or SUV using Rivians highly rated ‘skateboard’ platform. In addition, Ford is investing $11 billion in electrification up to 2022.
And with Ford dominating the pickup market in its home territory, a fully electric F-150 pickup is on the horizon for sure. General Motors had been interested in a $700m investment but talks broke down. It seems Ford jumped in quickly with a more reasonable equity investment terms.