Ford suspends electric vehicle project with Rivian

The two companies have partnered on a battery car as Ford’s exit was revealed. What does this mean for the Tesla-rivaling electric car?

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Ford on Monday confirmed reports that it was abandoning its joint venture with Rivian, announcing plans to build an electric vehicle in China instead.

This will leave the manufacturer with two alternative plans for an all-electric vehicle: build a vehicle under its own name, or work with an outside company.

The two companies announced plans to work together in January and said at the time that they planned to develop an electric vehicle by 2022 that would be a family sedan.

“Our partnership with Rivian aligns with our overall strategy to develop innovative advanced technologies for our future customers. So today, we are evaluating the development of an all-new family of fully electric vehicles in partnership with Rivian, and will choose the right partner to help us accelerate these efforts,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s executive vice-president of global product development.

It will be the second time Ford has changed course on its electric vehicle plans. The company cancelled plans for all-electric vehicles in the US and Europe after lawmakers from both political parties introduced legislation to promote greater use of zero-emission vehicles. But the move could prove profitable for the company, as sales of electric vehicles are expected to grow quickly.

“Emissions will not solve global warming. But with efficient battery power, they are part of a bridge to a safer future, a cleaner future, and a future where the world can help feed and house the world,” the C40 group of cities said in a statement.

Work on the electric vehicle will now be outsourced to Chinese and South Korean-based companies, Galhotra said, declining to say which ones.

The two companies announced plans to collaborate earlier this year, and recently released a concept car called E-Cruiser that promised an all-electric vehicle that will be powered by battery packs and electric motors.

Rivian was developed by Erik Zech, a 22-year Tesla veteran, who in his own words had “left the company (on bad terms) in March 2014” and helped develop the Tesla vehicles. The company is part of a crowd of new manufacturers in Silicon Valley that will emerge over the next several years.

SolarCity chief Elon Musk, who holds a 14% stake in Rive’s company, said earlier this year that his company would continue to work with Rivian despite the death of the venture with Ford.

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