DETROIT — Ford will work with Rivian to build Lincoln’s first fully electric vehicle, the Dearborn automaker announced Wednesday.
The news puts some meat on the bones of the $500 million investment Ford is making in the EV startup based in Plymouth Township, west of Detroit. Rivian, which has plans to produce its own electric truck and SUV at its plant in Normal, Ill., also has the backing of online retail and delivery giant Amazon.
The Lincoln electric luxury vehicle will use Rivian’s flexible skateboard platform, the company said. Ford had previously noted that it would work with Rivian on an electric vehicle but had not said it would be a Lincoln.
“Working with Rivian marks a pivotal point for Lincoln as we move toward a future that includes fully electric vehicles,” Lincoln President Joy Falotico said in a news release. “This vehicle will take Quiet Flight (the brand’s design theme) to a new place — zero emissions, effortless performance and connected and intuitive technology. It’s going to be stunning.”
Ford noted that the news is part of the company’s previously announced $11.5 billion electrification investments, which include the Mustang Mach-E and an electric F-150.
Interestingly, Rivian revealed to the Free Press last year that it was testing its skateboards, which carry the electric vehicle batteries and components, underneath the bodies of used Ford F-150s on metro Detroit roads.
“We need something to keep the weather out while we put a lot of miles on our skateboard, so they’re driving around in Detroit right now, too. They’re all over the place, but nobody knows. We’re very quiet about that,” Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said at the time.
He said then that Ford had no corporate connection to the company, but the vehicle wheelbase was the right size for testing.
Also on Wednesday, the UAW issued a statement from Region 4 Director Ron McInroy about the Lincoln announcement, highlighting the union’s expectations regarding the Rivian workforce:
“There are a lot of skilled and talented workers around Normal, Illinois, who will make for an excellent Rivian workforce and build a world class quality product. Given the UAW’s history in Normal and our history with Ford Motor Company, we look forward to these jobs returning and UAW members having the opportunity once again to organize and form their local union which has meant so much to that community. It’s a great day for our UAW members, UAW retirees and for the surrounding community.”