Lincoln Dumps Rivian In The Grease-Cancels EV Hookup

Lincoln was well on its way in co-developing an all-electric SUV with Rivian. Now, in an about-face, it is canceling the EV program hookup. It sent a letter to its dealers informing them of the cancellation because of “the current environment.” Wait, what? The current environment in the auto world is to get as many EVs as possible lickety-split. Most of the auto manufacturers are stumbling over themselves in a mad rush to have more EVs. So what’s up with Lincoln? It seems like Rivian got dumped in the grease. The whole point was to get an electric SUV in the quickest manner possible. Hooking up with Rivian was a perfect means to that end. Or was it?

Ford already has EV platforms for the Mach E and electric F-150

The Ford Mustang Mach-E on display during its reveal event.
Mustang Mach-E | Getty Images

Ford was already deep into developing the Mustang Mach E and electric F-150. It seemed a little odd that Lincoln would need to go outside of the company when inside the company EV platforms already existed. We knew that the Lincoln EV would be underpinned by Rivian’s skateboard platform. However, nothing was ever released about what kind of vehicle this would be, where it might be assembled, or when it would be available. 

According to Automotive News Rivian’s CEO said it would be “in the SUV space” and also that it would be “very different” from Rivian’s SUV. With almost all of Lincoln’s sedans discontinued including the Continental by 2021 it seemed obvious the Rivian derivative would be an SUV of some sort.

Lincoln announced the hookup with Rivian back in January

Rivian R1S
Rivian R1S | Rivian

Lincoln has been busy electrifying its current lineup. Both the Aviator and Corsair are plug-in hybrid models. The next step is an all-electric Lincoln. Don’t forget that Ford has invested $500 million in Rivian. This co-developed SUV, which was announced in January, seemed like a way for Ford to capitalize on its investment sooner rather than later. 

“Our strategic commitment to Lincoln, Rivian, and electrification remains unchanged and Lincoln’s future plans will include an all-electric vehicle consistent with its Quiet Flight DNA,” Lincoln said in a statement provided to Automotive News. Lincoln said it would continue to work with Rivian “on an alternative vehicle based on Rivian’s skateboard platform.”

So this appears to be the first real casualty as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Other models like the Bronco and Bronco Sport have been delayed nothing has been crossed off of the list of upcoming models. Until now. 

We know the Bronco Sport production has been pushed back

2021 Ford Bronco Sport | Bronco Sport Forum-
2021 Ford Bronco Sport | Bronco Sport Forum

We know that Bronco Sport production has been pushed back 60 days to now begin on September 7. It will be manufactured in Hermosillo, Mexico. Also, Ford CEO Jim Hackett has been asked by the media about how the pandemic will affect Ford’s schedule for new models. He has said that some may be delayed but that Ford is anxious to get all of them into the market. 

Maybe the coronavirus shutdown has bought Ford time to develop the Lincoln EV on one of its own existing platforms? There is also the possibility that Ford gained enough information from Rivian to be comfortable venturing out on its own. Whatever the reason, we’ll have to wait and see what Lincoln will do to get into the EV parade.