Rivian, Ford End Partnership; Will Continue to Collaborate on Electric Concepts

Ford and Rivian said that they are no longer planning to work together on electric vehicles.

The Detroit automaker and the Colorado, Rivian’s all-electric flagship crossover, will continue to work together on electric concepts.

“In 2018, Ford, Rivian and Rivian together demonstrated that electric vehicles are appealing to consumers,” said H. Robert Davis, Ford vice president of electrification strategy, in a statement released on Thursday. “The partnership builds on the market demand for electrified vehicles and should help Ford, Rivian and their dealers provide consumers with exciting, compelling and affordable electric vehicles in 2019 and beyond.”

The automakers haven’t made any comment on where the partnership will lead.

The news comes as a surprise, considering Rivian was bullish about working with Ford.

In October, EJ Davis, vice president and CTO of Rivian, said, “The acquisition of a company like Ford allows us to become more vertical, which allows us to do things more quickly in a more effective way.”

Rivian’s CEO, Ricky Hudon, has suggested that the automaker may have struggled internally to figure out how to approach the Ford partnership without major resistance. In October, Hudon said, “Everybody has to be on the same page, and I feel like we’re past that point.”

“We’re moving forward with our standalone model right now as it exists, and the XC90 is obviously a really great vehicle,” Hudon said. “The partnership, as currently constituted, wasn’t really designed to solve problems between two businesses.”

At the time, Hudon said, “One thing we said to Ford and everybody was we’re interested in partnering, but what we’re interested in is solving problems. We’re not interested in partnering on a path to distribution.”

Hudon claimed then that Ford never took the invitation to talk seriously, even as Rivian’s self-driving testing has expanded to 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada. He said Ford informed Rivian as soon as they were able to announce it.

“I just wanted to make sure that people understood the scope of our offering. We have a vehicle strategy for the 2025 time frame, but it’s not currently codified yet,” Hudon said. “By us not talking to Ford, you could assume that they weren’t interested.”

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