Back in April 2020, Ford and upstart EV maker Rivian nixed plans to build a Lincoln EV on the latter’s Skateboard platform, and a little over a year later, decided not to collaborate on a Ford-branded vehicle, either. Regardless, both continue to build and sell EVs separately, while The Blue Oval still holds a $2 billion dollar stake in the relatively-new automaker. Riven is already building all-electric delivery vans for Amazon, though it will also now be collaborating with Mercedes-Benz to create a pair of future EV vans for the European market, too.
Mercedes has signed a memorandum of understanding for a strategic partnership with Rivian for the joint production of large all-electric vans in Europe. The two companies intend to establish a new joint venture manufacturing company with the purpose of investing in and operating a factory in Europe to produce large electric vans for both Mercedes‑Benz Vans and Rivian starting in a few years.
The two companies are also aiming to build a new EV-only facility leveraging an existing Mercedes‑Benz site in Central/Eastern Europe, where two new vans will be produced. Of those two new models, one will be based on the VAN.EA platform (Mercedes-Benz Vans Electric Architecture), and the other built on the second-generation Rivian Light Van (RLV) platform. The goal behind the partnership is to leverage operations synergies and substantially increase cost efficiency to help make the vans more affordable for commercial customers.
Meanwhile, Ford is well on its way to filling out its European lineup of all-electric vans following the launch of the E-Transit in that region. The Blue Oval is launching seven additional new all-electric models in Europe by 2024, a lineup that includes multiple vans including the recently-revealed E-Transit Custom and the next-gen Transit Connect, which will live on as a rebadged Volkswagen model.