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Ford’s luxury Lincoln brand to make an electric vehicle with Rivian

Rivian will build the "skateboard" platform for the new electric Lincoln. (Credit: Rivian)

DETROIT — Rivian, a Michigan-based startup backed heavily by Ford and Amazon, will develop a new electric vehicle for Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand.

This will be Lincoln’s first fully electric vehicle, although it has already unveiled two plug-in hybrid versions of its Aviator and Corsair SUVs. Plug-in hybrids have gasoline engines but operate as fully electric vehicles for relatively short distances after being charged.

The all-electric vehicle will be engineered on Rivian’s so-called “skateboard” platform — a basic structure with the batteries carried in a broad, flat floor. Different body types, such as a pickup or an SUV, can be designed to go on top of the platform. Rivian will produce the skateboard platforms for Lincoln at its factory in Normal, Illinois, a spokeswoman for Rivian said. Neither Ford nor Rivian would say whether the final assembly of the Lincoln vehicles would take place at a Rivian or a Ford factory.

In April, Ford announced a $500 million investment in Rivian. As part of that investment, it said it would design and produce at least one electric vehicle in partnership with the startup. The Lincoln collaboration is the first product from that relationship to be announced.

Ford, on its own, is working on an electric version of its F-150 pickup. Ford also recently unveiled the Mustang Mach-E, a performance-oriented electric crossover SUV which is expected to go on sale in the spring of 2021. Ford also developed that vehicle itself.

A separate partnership with Volkswagen, announced last July, will allow Ford to use Volkswagen’s electric vehicle engineering to create electric vehicles for sale in Europe starting in 2023.

Meanwhile, Rivian plans to sell its own pickup called the R1T, as well an SUV called the R1S. Rivian is also working on delivery vehicles for Amazon, which invested $700 million in the company last February.

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