Ford’s luxury brand Lincoln and newcomer electric vehicle outfit Rivian are officially teaming up to make a fully-electric vehicle that will be sold as a Lincoln. Which seems, actually, really cool.
Most people seem to be assuming that this Lincoln EV will be an SUV, and I agree since that’s what sells and that’s what Rivian has showcased as concepts. But Lincoln’s official statement only goes so far as to say:
Lincoln’s first fully electric vehicle will join the Aviator and Corsair Grand Touring plug-in hybrid vehicles, further solidifying Lincoln’s commitment to electrification. The zero-emissions vehicle will feature connected and intuitive technologies designed to create an effortless experience for Lincoln clients.
We knew FoMoCo has been investing in, and theoretically working with, Rivian for some time. The Detroit automaker reported a huge investment in the EV company back in April of last year.
But I didn’t realise a deep collaboration was in fact in the works. This is a pretty solid validation of Rivian’s engineering. Ford clearly thinks it can achieve its goals of selling EVs more efficiently by buying Rivian’s tech rather than developing its own. And a company like Ford would only do that if it felt the startup was generally sound.
That said, there’s plenty of precedent in the auto industry of big companies buying models to rebadge when they want to enter a market quickly. The first one that comes to my mind is Honda’s Passport and Acura SLX, which were Isuzu SUVs, bought in a pinch so Honda could have sport utilities while it took more time developing its own.
Whether a very longterm collaboration between Ford and Rivian is in the mix, or this is just a stopgap, remains to be seen. But it seems like a score for the startup automaker.
Anyway, here’s the other meaty nugget from Lincoln’s press release:
“The Lincoln battery electric vehicle will be built off of Rivian’s flexible skateboard platform and is part of Ford Motor Company’s planned equity investment in Rivian. This all-new vehicle also is part of Ford’s previously announced investment of more than $US11.5 ($17) billion into electrification, which includes the Mustang Mach-E and a fully electric version of the best-selling F-150 pickup.”
No production or release date for Lincoln’s EV have been posted yet.