Ford’s plan to make an electric vehicle in cooperation with Rivian, a Michigan-based electric vehicle company, under its luxury Lincoln brand have been called off.
Ford (F) and Rivian, a startup backed by hundreds of millions of investment dollars from Ford (F) and Amazon (AMZN), had announced plans for the vehicle at the end of January. It was going to be Lincoln’s first fully electric offering.
The new vehicle was to be built using Rivian’s so-called “skateboard platform,” a basic electric vehicle structure that will also underlie Rivian’s own R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck. Rivian was to produce those platforms for Ford at Rivian’s factory in Normal, Illinois.
Ford’s announcement implied that the coronavirus pandemic was to blame for the decision to drop that plan.
“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,” the announcement said.
It is not clear why the coronavirus would cause Ford to drop plans for the electric Lincoln vehicle entirely rather than simply postpone them. Automakers, including Ford, are struggling to develop new products while designers and engineers have to stay home to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Ford has said that it might have to delay the launch of its Mustang Mach-E electric SUV as a result of the pandemic, for instance.
Yet, the company said the cancellation of this particular vehicle with Rivian would not mean an electric vehicle is not in the works for the Lincoln brand sometime in the future.
“Our strategic commitment to Lincoln, Rivian and electrifiation remains unchanged and Lincoln’s future plans will include an all-electric vehicle consistent with its Quiet Flight DNA,” the company said.
Quiet Flight DNA refers to the smooth ride quality and muted engine sounds that Lincoln executives have said are essential to the brand’s promise of a relaxing experience.
Ford s also working on an electric version of the F-150 pickup. That vehicle is being developed entirely by Ford with no involvement from Rivian. Ford also has a partnership with Volkswagen to produce electric vehicles for sale in Europe.
When Ford announced a $500 million investment in Rivian in April, 2019, it said the two companies would produce at least one vehicle together. Rivian also plans to make electric delivery vans for Amazon, another major investor in the company.