When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Ford axed plans to develop a Lincoln electric vehicle with Rivian Image Credit: AP

Ford Motor Co. has abandoned plans to jointly develop an electric vehicle with Rivian Automotive Inc., the startup in which the legacy automaker has a 12 per cent stake.

Ford was among the early investors in Rivian when it contributed $500 million in 2019 and announced plans to develop a plug-in model together. Since then, Ford increased its investment to $1.2 billion and has seen the value of its stake grow more than tenfold after Rivian went public November 10. Rivian is now worth $115 billion, giving it a market capitalizsation greater than Ford or General Motors Co.

Recently, Ford has been reining in its relationship with the Irvine, California-based company, whose first product is an electric pickup truck that will compete with the battery-powered Ford F-150 Lightning that is set to debut next spring. Ford in September gave up its seat on the Rivian board.

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Ford axed plans to develop a Lincoln electric vehicle with Rivian, but said they would still collaborate on another model. Now those plans are also cancelled.

“We respect Rivian and have had extensive exploratory discussions with them. However, both sides have agreed not to pursue any kind of joint vehicle development or platform sharing,” Mike Levine, a Ford spokesperson, said in a statement. “We are seeing extraordinary demand for our first round of EVs - the F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit, both retail and commercial - and our team is laser-focused on scaling and reducing complexity.”

Ford CEO Jim Farley shared the decision with Automotive News earlier, explaining: “We have growing confidence in our ability to win in the electric space. When you compare today with when we originally made that investment, so much has changed.”

Rivian, in a statement, said: “As Ford has scaled its own EV strategy and demand for Rivian vehicles has grown, we’ve mutually decided to focus on our own projects and deliveries. Our relationship with Ford is an important part of our journey, and Ford remains an investor and ally on our shared path to an electrified future.”