Ford, Rivian cancel plans to jointly develop an EV

DETROIT — After going public this month, electric-vehicle startup Rivian Automotive is worth almost 50 percent more than one of its early big investors: Ford Motor Co.

But Ford believes it can soon add more value for shareholders than at any point in the past century with a plan to become the nation’s second-biggest producer of EVs in two years. And Ford no longer thinks it needs Rivian’s help to get there.

The two companies have scrapped plans to jointly develop an EV, Ford CEO Jim Farley told Automotive News. Ford already had canceled a planned Lincoln collaboration at the start of the coronavirus pandemic but still intended to work with Rivian on a different vehicle until recently.

“Right now, we have growing confidence in our ability to win in the electric space,” Farley said in an interview Thursday. “When you compare today with when we originally made that investment, so much has changed: about our ability, about the brand’s direction in both cases, and now it’s more certain to us what we have to do. We want to invest in Rivian — we love their future as a company — but at this point we’re going to develop our own vehicles.”

Ford is so confident in its abilities that it’s doubling its planned EV production capacity to 600,000 globally by the end of 2023, Farley said. The company aims to become the largest U.S. EV maker after Tesla in the same time frame, Farley said, and to challenge Tesla’s leadership after planned EV campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky come online several years later.

The electric push is part of a broader remake of the 118-year-old automaker that involves modernizing how it sells vehicles, reconfiguring pieces of its supply chain and expanding into software services that will generate recurring revenue.

“As a leader of Ford I get really excited, because there hasn’t been a chance to transform Ford and create this much value since we scaled the Model T,” Farley said. “The chance to emerge out of this transition to a digital product with a much higher valuation is now much clearer.”

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