Ford, Rivian dump electric car partnership

Updated: Rival manufacturers Ford and Rivian, a start-up in Colorado, said they have no plans to work together on electric vehicles. The companies jointly announced plans to make two electric vehicles for the “urban-focused” market earlier this year. “Our relationship was and is focused on electrifying the Ford Focus Electric and the Rivian Rivian Cascadia crossover concept,” they said in a joint statement.

Original: Ford and a Colorado start-up called Rivian, which is developing a line of electric vehicles, are expected to join forces in an attempt to put a range of electric vehicles on the road by 2020.

A partnership between the two companies in February was the first step to achieve that goal, and Ford and Rivian jointly announced plans to make two electric vehicles for the “urban-focused” market. The first of those vehicles is scheduled to come out in 2020, Rivian CEO Ravi Nair said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.

“We’re both very ambitious, we believe in technology and engineering. We know we will both fail at this,” Ford chairman Bill Ford said then. “But together we can do something we can’t do by ourselves.”

“For a long time, Ford has been slow to embrace electric vehicles,” Mark DeWalt, Rivian’s chief technology officer, told Bloomberg Friday. “I think they’re interested in getting as much experience behind them as they can because it’s a risky strategy.”

Ford and Rivian initially intended for the vehicles to share technology and probably use Ford’s engineers to design and manufacture the vehicles. But Nair said in a separate interview with Bloomberg that the two companies couldn’t make good business sense together, calling it a “like old married couple.”

“They needed the expertise of another major automaker,” he said. “What we would have lacked in scale we could provide in depth. So it was a mutually beneficial deal for both.”

Ford remains committed to developing its own electric vehicles and sees shared cars as being a good place to start, Chief Executive Jim Hackett said in the company’s February investor day.

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