Rivian and Mercedes to Launch Joint Enterprise for Electrical Vans

  • Rivian and Mercedes-Benz Vans have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a new joint venture for building electric vans.
  • The joint venture will lead to a new factory in Europe that will assemble two new electric vans.
  • One will be based on the Mercedes’s VAN.EA platform, while the other will ride on the second generation of the Rivian Light Van platform.

UPDATE 12/12/22: Rivian revealed today that it is no longer pursuing a joint venture with Mercedes to co-develop an electric van, halting the project just three months after the initial memorandum of understanding was announced. Rivian stock dropped a few percentage points this morning following the news.

EV startup Rivian is already working with Amazon to build a 100,000-unit fleet of its goofy-looking EDV (Electric Delivery Van) by 2030, but now the California-based automaker is poised to enter another partnership. Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian announced today that the two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to begin a “strategic partnership,” which, if all goes well with regulatory processes, will lead to the creation of a new joint venture for electric van production.

rivian edv

This joint venture would see the construction of a new electric-only factory in central or eastern Europe, “leveraging an existing Mercedes-Benz site.” This production facility will focus on building large electric vans for both Rivian and Mercedes-Benz, with two already planned.

One will be based on VAN.EA, the Mercedes electric van architecture, while the other will be underpinned by the second-generation Rivian Light Van (RLV) platform. It’s unclear how these vans will be badged and sold, but we are guessing one will carry the three-pointed star while the other will feature a Rivian logo. The companies said that “further options for increased synergies” are being investigated, so the joint venture won’t necessarily be limited to these two vans. The partnership aims to boost production and cost efficiency to make the vans more affordable.

Mercedes is currently working on electrifying its van lineup, with an electric version of its Sprinter van—the eSprinter—set to arrive for 2023. In the European market, the eSprinter joins the EQV and eVito, electric versions of the van known stateside as the Metris, as well as the compact eCitan. Rivian, meanwhile, is ramping up production of its EDV as Amazon begins rolling out the delivery vans in cities across the United States. Starting in 2025, new mid-size and large Mercedes vans will all ride on VAN.EA and be powered by electrons, and the newly announced joint venture should be up and running by that point.

This story was originally published September 9, 2022.

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