In September, Rivian and Mercedes signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a strategic partnership that would see them build electric vans together.
At the time, the companies said they intended to establish a new joint venture manufacturing company with the purpose of “investing in, and operating, a factory in Europe to produce large electric vans for both Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian, starting in a few years.” The plan aimed to leverage an existing Mercedes facility in central or eastern Europe, which would build two large vans based on the VAN.EA and second-generation Rivian Light Van (RLV) platforms.
Fast forward to today and those discussions are now on hold. In a press release, Rivian said it is “pausing plans to produce its electric commercial vans in Europe and will therefore no longer pursue the Memorandum of Understanding with Mercedes-Benz.” The company added it wants to prioritize its current consumer product development roadmap and manufacturing capacity expansion.
Also: Mercedes Partners With Rivian To Build Electric Vans In Europe
In a statement, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said “At this point in time, we believe focusing on our consumer business, as well as our existing commercial business, represent the most attractive near-term opportunities to maximize value for Rivian.” That being said, Scaringe stated “We share the same goal as Mercedes-Benz Vans, to help the world transition to electric vehicles, and we look forward to exploring opportunities with them at a more appropriate time for Rivian.”
Mercedes-Benz Vans boss Mathias Geisen said he respects and understands the decision, but noted the “pace of our own electrification strategy … remains unchanged.” He added the ramp-up plan for the Jawor facility is unaffected and the company will “continue with full speed and determination to scale up electric vehicle production in our first dedicated electric van plant – designed for maximum flexibility and productivity.” Geisen went on to say that future strategic opportunities with Rivian remain a possibility.
Rivian has a lot going on as the company recently revealed they have a preorder backlog of over 114,000 R1 models. The company has slowly been ramping up production and announced they built 7,363 vehicles during the third quarter. That number should grow in the fourth quarter as a second shift was added to their factory in Normal, Illinois.
For their part, Mercedes said the VAN.EA platform would form the basis of all eVans in the medium and large segment. The platform is slated to be launched in 2025 and a medium-sized electric van will be built in Vitoria, Spain around that time. Large electric vans will be built at a couple of plants including in Düsseldorf and Jawor.