Rivian has struggled since it started delivering electric pickup trucks to buyers last year. Supply chain strains had the
EV startupstruggling to acquire battery components as partnerships with Ford and Amazon looked to be fizzling out.
But the new company found good news to share in the first week of September. A new partnership has been reached with legacy automaker Mercedes to build electric commercial vans in
Mercedes and Rivian’s van-focused joint venture
Along with the two models Rivian initially developed for the general public, the burgeoning company also designed an electric delivery van similar in shape and size to the Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter.
The commercial vehicle looked at first to be the fruition of a major investment by online retail giant
Amazon. But while the deal between the e-commerce monolith and EV startup remains intact, Amazon diversified its EV supply this year with an order coming from Stellantis.
With production speed being the primary obstacle for Rivian, a helping hand from Mercedes will be a major step toward becoming a sustainable, lucrative business.
New York Timessays the two automakers will share use of Mercedes’ assembly plant in Hungary, and that the joint venture will help both companies lower manufacturing costs and open up a window for sharing new ideas and technology.
Both brands have their own electric commercial vans in the works
Despite the cooperation, Mercedes and Rivan will soon be rivals in the commercial vehicle market. Rivian has already started delivering its delivery vans to Amazon, but Mercedes plans to release an electrified version of its popular Sprinter van next year.
The shared factory will likely produce both vans, but when it comes to marketing them, both companies plan to go it alone.
Ironically, the other main commercial van competition comes from another partner of Rivian’s. Ford, which owns an 11.4% stake in the new company, released its
E-Transitvan six months before Amazon was able to roll out its first Rivian vehicles in July.
Owning EVs made by Mercedes and Rivian
Right now, the options for electric vehicles made by Mercedes or Rivian are slim. Rivian only has two models, the R1T pickup truck and the R1S SUV, both of which have three-year waiting lists.
Mercedes only has one EV available right now, the EQS, but four other models are expected to join it by the end of next year.
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