Ford has invested $500 million in startup electric carmaker Rivian, the companies announced Wednesday, with the goal of collaboration and partnership. The investment gains Ford a minor share in Rivian as well as a seat on the startup’s board of directors.

“This strategic partnership marks another key milestone in our drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility,” said RJ Scaringe (photo, left), Rivian founder and CEO. “Ford has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, with Bill Ford” (photo, right) “being one of the industry’s earliest advocates, and we are excited to use our technology to get more electric vehicles on the road.”

“As we continue in our transformation of Ford with new forms of intelligent vehicles and propulsion, this partnership with Rivian brings a fresh approach to both,” said Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO. “At the same time, we believe Rivian can benefit from Ford’s industrial expertise and resources.”

Ford will develop a new vehicle based on Rivian’s flexible “skateboard” platform, upon which Rivian has already developed a pickup truck and an SUV. Ford says that it will not be an electric F-150 pickup, however, as that has already been under development in-house at Ford for some time. Nor will it be the “Mustang-inspired” crossover already planned for next year.

Ford was ambiguous about what the vehicle would be and speculation is difficult given the large product portfolio from Ford with potential to utilize the Rivian platform. Ford will be assigned Joe Hinrichs, the company’s president of Automotive, to Rivian’s seven-member board. This could indicate a smaller vehicle, such as a sedan or small crossover, as the beneficiary of Rivian’s tech.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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