Mercedes-Benz and Rivian’s partnership is over for now. The two automakers announced today that they are pausing plans to build electric vans together in Europe. The pair initially signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September that would have resulted in a van being built for each brand.
According to Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe, the automaker believes it’s best to focus on its current consumer and commercial business operations. These represent “the most attractive near-term opportunities to maximise value” for the company.
Gallery: Rivian R1T
Mathias Geisen, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said he understood and respected Rivian’s decision. However, the pause would not delay Mercedes’ plans. The pace of the company’s electrification strategy “remains unchanged,” according to Geisen, with the automaker still committed to its new EV manufacturing plant in Poland and its first dedicated electric van factory.
While the two have paused the partnership, the door isn’t completely closed between the two. “Exploring strategic opportunities with the team at Rivian in the future remains an option,” Geisen added.
The two had hoped that the partnership would have helped reduce the cost of electric vans for commercial vehicle owners, sharing investment and costs between the pair. The initial plan called for the dedicated factory to produce a van based on Mercedes’ VAN.EA platform and another riding on Rivian’s second-generation Rivian Light Van (RLV) architecture.
This isn’t Rivian’s first tie-up to end without producing any vehicles. Ford and Rivian split late last year, ending plans for the two to make vehicles together. Ford then sold eight million shares of Rivian stock in mid-2022, causing Rivian’s stock to tumble as another entity offloaded between 13 million to 15 million shares as well.
Even without the partnership, Rivian isn’t without a van. The automaker is producing its aptly named Electric Delivery Van for Amazon, with over 1,000 in its fleet delivering packages in more than 100 US cities today. Amazon ordered 100,000 vans from the company, intending to have 10,000 delivered by the end of 2022, which Rivian might not achieve. Rivian also produces the R1T truck and the R1S SUV.