Ford and Lincoln cancel Rivian-powered electric vehicle due to the pandemic

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Ford and its luxury brand Lincoln have canceled an all-electric SUV that was going to be powered by technology provided by EV startup Rivian, the companies told Automotive News on Tuesday.

Lincoln says it is still working closely with Rivian, including an “alternative vehicle” that will also be based on Rivian’s electric vehicle skateboard platform.

“Given the current environment, Lincoln and Rivian have decided not to pursue the development of a fully electric vehicle based on Rivian’s skateboard platform. Our strategic commitment to Lincoln, Rivian and electrification remains unchanged and Lincoln’s future plans will include an all-electric vehicle,” a spokesperson from Lincoln told The Verge in a statement.

Lincoln declined to say what specifically about the pandemic led to the cancellation. “This was a decision that was mutually made by Lincoln and Rivian given the rapidly changing environment and after a review of product plans,” the spokesperson said. “As we moved through the development cycle, we determined that it would be better to pivot from the Rivian’s skateboard platform and focus our development efforts on Lincoln’s own fully-electric vehicle.”

Amy Mast, Rivian’s public relations director, said “Ford and Lincoln continue to be great partners.” Rivian recently announced that it’s pushing back the release of its first two vehicles — an all-electric pickup truck and SUV — to early 2021 because of the pandemic.

Ford announced a $500 million investment in Rivian last year, just two months after Amazon led a $700 million investment in the Michigan-based startup. As part of Ford’s investment, it announced that it would develop an electric vehicle that used Rivian’s battery pack and electric motor setup. It was reported at the time that the vehicle would be part of the Lincoln stable, something the luxury brand confirmed this past January. Ford also participated in a $1.3 billion fundraising round for Rivian that closed in December.

Founded in 2009, Rivian originally set out to build an all-electric sports car much like Tesla’s Roadster. But it eventually pivoted to an electric pickup truck and SUV. The company operated in stealth mode for nearly a decade until it unveiled those two vehicles at the 2018 LA Auto Show. It has since hired over 2,000 people and has opened offices all over North America.

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