Ford and Rivian to split, ahead of electric vehicle market shift

As electric vehicles make headway in the world of commercial vehicles, investors have seen a greater financial opportunity in the supply chain. After a spate of bankruptcies and bankruptcies seeking to hive off old…

Ford and Rivian to split, ahead of electric vehicle market shift

As electric vehicles make headway in the world of commercial vehicles, investors have seen a greater financial opportunity in the supply chain. After a spate of bankruptcies and bankruptcies seeking to hive off old fleets of traditional vehicles, Rivian and Ford have decided to part ways.

The two companies will announce a joint venture tomorrow in Michigan, which aims to produce small electric commercial vehicles in the US. Instead of continuing to work together on its AC electric van, the firms will operate independently, amid a shift in technology, customer expectations and market requirements.

“The internet has lowered costs, consolidated production and unlocked new parts,” Brad Stevens, senior vice president and general manager for vehicle sales and marketing at Ford, said in a statement. “These changes have accelerated demand for electric vehicles, but also lowered costs, making them competitive in a variety of applications.”

Rivian is a California-based start-up, while Ford is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan. Rival rental car companies have expressed an interest in electric commercial vehicles, including German car rental service Avis, which has picked Rivian to supply its fleet with its new Rivian i35 pickup and Rivian iCITY small van for emergency services and building maintenance.

“The market opportunity for an affordable reliable personal mobility platform like Rivian’s AC electric van is significant,” said Mickey Evans, senior vice president of global marketing, sales and service at Avis. “Rivian’s team brings a real passion for zero emissions and innovation, which aligns perfectly with our own business model and growth strategy.”

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Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest oil producer, has joined forces with Westport Innovations Inc in a bid to capture increasing demand for electric vehicles. The companies are bringing together engineering, battery production and supply for vehicle applications to address a market for electric vehicles that will grow to 30m vehicles per year by 2040, according to Industry Canada.

Rivian’s forthcoming vehicles will represent a new front in Detroit’s battle with Silicon Valley. The automaker will show off its self-driving electric truck, the i1, at CES in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The truck could transform the market for ride-hailing services when it is unveiled in 2019.

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