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Ford warns its upcoming Rivian-based EV won’t necessarily be a pickup

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The electric F-150 that Ford showed pulling a train might not emerge from the company’s partnership with Rivian after all. Company CEO Jim Hackett confirmed the Blue Oval’s $500 million investment in the Michigan-based start-up will spawn a new car, but he warned against speculating it’s a truck.

“You shouldn’t go down the path of assuming it’s a pickup,” he told Motor Trend during an interview. While he wouldn’t reveal precisely what the jointly-developed model will arrive as, Rivian so far specializes in making tall, rugged off-roaders like the R1T and the R1S concepts it introduced during the 2018 Los Angeles auto show. This means the skateboard platform it will let Ford use won’t underpin a successor to the Focus Electric. If it’s not a pickup, odds are it will be an SUV.

Ford is keeping quiet about its battery-powered off-roader, but work continues behind the scenes, and Hackett added most of the big decisions have already been made. He also hinted that Rivian will build the model in the former Mitsubishi factory it purchased in Normal, Illinois. That’s a courageous move; Ford has over 100 years of manufacturing experience, but Rivian has absolutely none.

On the other side of the pond, where mammoth vehicles like the R1T and the F-150 don’t fit in, Ford is leveraging its burgeoning partnership with Volkswagen to quickly bring electric cars to the market. The Blue Oval became the first major automaker to take up Volkswagen’s offer to share the modular MEB architecture it’s developing to underpin a wide range of electric cars, including a Golf-sized hatchback called ID.3. Motor Trend learned Ford ultimately hopes to sell 600,000 MEB-based cars over a six-year period, but additional details remain under wraps. What’s certain is that they’ll be relatively small, and they won’t be available in North America.

All told, Ford plans to release 40 electrified vehicles globally by 2022, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and 16 battery-electric cars. It’s investing $11.5 billion into research and partnerships to make it happen.

from Autoblog