Rivian is currently developing its R1T pick-up truck and R1S seat-seat SUV, which will both be built on a bespoke 'skateboard’ chassis that was designed to be modular, so it can be used for a wide range of machines.
The new strategic partnership, in which Ford has taken around $500 million (£386 million) equity investment in Rivian, will result in engineers from the two American companies working together to develop a battery EV for Ford.
There are no details yet on the type of vehicle the firms will work on, although it will be “all-new”. In the US, Ford has shifted its focus to pick-ups and SUVs, and it's currently developing an electric version of its hugely popular F-150.
Ford boss Jim Hackett said the partnership with Rivian “brings a fresh approach” to Ford's development of EVs and that the fledgling firm “can benefit from Ford’s industrial expertise and resources”.
Rivian founder RJ Scaringe called the deal a “key milestone in our drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility”.
Rivian will remain an independent company. Ford is just the latest major investor the firm has secured; it had already raised £894.5m, including £544 million from online retailing giant Amazon, announced at the Los Angeles motor show.
The deal is also the latest in a number of partnerships that Ford has secured as part of its global restructuring. It recently agreed a deal to work with Volkswagen to develop a range of vehicles, including vans and mid-size pick-ups, and has talked about building vehicles using the German conglomerate's MEB platform for EVs.