Mercedes-Benz Automotive Group and Rivian have formed a new joint venture to build commercial electric vans for the two automakers. In a statement, the companies said they plan to build a new all-electric production facility at an existing Mercedes-Benz plant site in Central or Eastern Europe and begin production “within a few years.
The two companies say they plan to build two different electric vans – one for each company – on a shared assembly line. The idea is to reduce costs for both companies by sharing investments, technology and suppliers.
“Since 2010, Mercedes-Benz Vans has gained extensive experience in the production and launch of electric vehicles. Now, we are accelerating the transition to an all-electric portfolio,” said Mathias Geisen, head of the Mercedes commercial van division.” We share our investment and technology with Rivian because we share the same strategic ambition: to provide our customers with sustainable, high-quality products that accelerate the electrification of the van market.”
“Rivian was created to encourage the world to transition away from fossil fuel consumption by creating compelling products and services,” said Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe. While Mercedes-Benz has been building commercial vehicles for years and electric vans for more than a decade, Rivian is a newcomer to the field. The Michigan-based electric vehicle startup began building electric delivery vans for Amazon earlier this year, just months after it began producing its own premium electric pickups and SUVs at its Illinois plant.
While the vans that Mercedes and Rivian will eventually build may be similar in shape, they will be based on different designs. Mercedes will be based on its upcoming new electric van architecture, set to debut in 2025; Rivian is based on the next-generation version of its light van platform developed for Amazon.
Two vans are expected to come out when the partnership is agreed upon, one built on Mercedes’ Vans Electric Architecture (VAN.EA) platform and the other on Rivian’s second-generation electric vehicle platform, called the Rivian Light Van (RLV).
Both automakers plan to rapidly scale up the production of electric vans to make them more affordable and transition gas delivery vehicles to electric.