Lincoln cancels use of Rivian’s technology for its first electric vehicle

The effects of the global pandemic are expected to force automakers into alliances to cover development costs for expensive technology. But Ford confirmed today that it canceled plans to use Rivian’s electric skateboard platform for a Lincoln-badged electric vehicle. Ford still plans to produce a Lincoln EV but is using its own technology.

In April 2019, Ford invested a half billion dollars in Rivian. Less than a year later, in January 2020, Ford announced that it would work with Rivian on a new EV to be badged as a Lincoln.

At the time, Joy Falotico, president of the Lincoln Motor Company, said:

Working with Rivian marks a pivotal point for Lincoln as we move toward a future that includes fully electric vehicles. This vehicle will take Quiet Flight to a new place — zero emissions, effortless performance, and connected and intuitive technology. It’s going to be stunning.

Ford had confirmed that the new Lincoln battery electric vehicle will be built on Rivian’s platform:

The Lincoln battery electric vehicle will be built off of Rivian’s flexible skateboard platform and is part of Ford Motor Company’s planned equity investment in Rivian. This all-new vehicle also is part of Ford’s previously announced investment of more than $11.5 billion into electrification, which includes the Mustang Mach-E and a fully electric version of the best-selling F-150 pickup.

However, Ford communicated on its employee website today that a “rapidly changing environment” led the company to reconsider its plans with Rivian. The message to employees read:

We continue to review and adjust our business and product plans — as all prudent businesses do. As we moved through the development cycle, we determined that it would be better to pivot from the Rivian skateboard platform and focus our development efforts on Lincoln’s own fully electric vehicle.

Meanwhile, Lincoln last week filed a trademark for something called “eGlide.” The Mach E Club forum discovered the filing, which is described as follow:

Motor vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles, sport utility vehicles, electric vehicles and structural parts and fittings; electric vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles, sport utility vehicles, and structural parts and fittings.

Amy Mast, a Rivian spokesperson, told the Verge, “Ford and Lincoln continue to be great partners.”

Rivian earlier this month announced that it slightly pushed back the release of its R1T electric pickup from late 2020 to early 2021.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.