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Ford Motor Co. has made a $500 million equity investment in Plymouth-based Rivian and plans to use the company’s "skateboard" platform to develop an all-new, next-generation battery electric vehicle for Ford’s portfolio.

Rivian has already developed two clean-sheet vehicles targeting off-road adventurers with funding from backers that include Amazon.

Rivian SUVThe company’s launch products — the five-passenger R1T pickup and seven-passenger R1S SUV — will deliver up to 400-plus miles of range and provide “an unmatched combination of performance, off-road capability and utility,” starting in late 2020. 

“This strategic partnership marks another key milestone in our drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility,” Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said in a statement. “Ford has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, with Bill Ford being one of the industry's earliest advocates, and we are excited to use our technology to get more electric vehicles on the road.”

Added Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, “We are excited to invest in and partner with Rivian. I have gotten to know and respect RJ, and we share a common goal to create a sustainable future for our industry through innovation.”

The new vehicle to be developed with Rivian is an addition to Ford’s existing plans to develop a portfolio of battery electric vehicles. As part of its previously announced $11 billion EV investment, Ford already has confirmed two key fully electric vehicles: a Mustang-inspired crossover coming in 2020 and a zero-emissions version of the best-selling F-150 pickup.

Rivian remains an independent company. The investment is subject to regulatory approval. Following Ford’s investment, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of automotive, will join Rivian’s seven-member board.

Rivian has development centers in Plymouth; San Jose and Irvine, California; and Surrey, England; along with a 2.6-million-square-foot manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. The company has raised a total of $1.4 billion in funding over five rounds, according to Crunchbase. Investors include Amazon, which made a $700 million investment in February; Standard Chartered Bank, which reached a $200 million debt financing agreement in May 2018; and Sumitomo Corp. of America.