Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian, a US electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to initiate a strategic partnership. The partnership will enable the companies to cooperate on the production of electric vans.
Subject to the parties entering into final binding agreements and to obtaining the relevant regulatory clearances, the companies intend to establish a new joint venture manufacturing company. The purpose is to invest in, and operate, a factory in Europe to produce large electric vans for both Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian. This is intended to start in a couple of years.
The target is to build an all-new electric-only production facility using an existing Mercedes-Benz site in Central/Eastern Europe. The companies envisage production-optimised vehicle designs for efficient manufacturing on common assembly lines.
They will aim to produce two large vans, one based on VAN.EA (MB Vans Electric Architecture), the electric-only platform of Mercedes-Benz Vans, and the other based on the second generation electric van, Rivian Light Van (RLV) platform. Further options for increased synergies from the joint venture will also be explored.
The joint venture mirrors the common objectives of Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian. Both companies plan to rapidly scale the production of electric vans to help the world transition to cleaner zero emission transportation.
By working together, they will be able to use operations synergies and substantially increase cost efficiency to help make the vans more affordable for commercial customers driven by the total cost of ownership.
RJ Scaringe, Rivian CEO, said: “Rivian was created to encourage the world to transition away from fossil fuel consumption by creating compelling products and services. We’re delighted to be partnering with Mercedes-Benz on this project.
“Mercedes-Benz is one of the world’s best known and respected automotive companies, and we believe that together we will produce truly remarkable electric vans which will not only benefit our customers but the planet.”
Rivian, who are no stranger to partnerships, is also working with Amazon who announced that customers in the US will soon see custom electric delivery vehicles made by Rivian delivering their packages.
Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “As a pioneer in the field of locally emission-free transportation Mercedes Benz Vans has gained broad experience in producing and launching electric vans since 2010. Now we are accelerating the transformation to a fully electric product portfolio.
“From 2025 onwards, all vans based on our new architecture VAN.EA will be electric-only. I am delighted that as part of this transformation we are now joining forces with Rivian – a highly dynamic and inspiring partner with a strong technology position.
“We are sharing investments and technology because we also share the same strategic ambition: accelerating the electrification of the van market with sustainable and superior products for our customers.”
This is not the first collaboration between two automakers when it comes to building electric vehicles. It makes absolute sense to do so when it comes to speeding up the process of vehicle delivery.
Volkswagen also announced they will be expanding their emobility partnership with Ford Motor Company. Ford plans to produce another electric model for the European market based on Volkswagen’s MEB electric platform.