By Otsile Kadiege
Mercedes-Benz and Rivian recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a strategic partnership and joint production of electric vans – with the objective to set the standard in sustainable and all-electric transportation. The planned joint venture will produce bespoke large electric vans for Mercedes-Benz and for Rivian. The companies look to leverage shared investments, shared costs and will pursue operational synergies to rapidly scale electric van production.
Subject to the parties entering into final binding agreements and to obtaining the relevant regulatory clearances, the companies intend 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 target is to build an all-new electric-only production facility leveraging an existing Mercedes-Benz site in Central/Eastern Europe.
The companies envisage production-optimised vehicle designs for efficient manufacturing on common assembly lines. They will aim to produce two large vans, one based on VAN.EA (MB Vans Electric Architecture), the electric-only platform of Mercedes-Benz Vans, and the other based on the second generation electric-van, Rivian Light Van (RLV) platform. Further options for increased synergies from the joint venture will also be explored.
The joint venture mirrors the common objectives of Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian: both companies plan to rapidly scale the production of electric vans to help the world transition to cleaner transportation. By working together, they will be able to leverage operations synergies and substantially increase cost efficiency to help make the vans more affordable for commercial customers driven by total cost of ownership.
Mercedes-Benz Vans has firmly anchored its leadership aspiration for electric mobility in its strategy. With Vito E-CELL in 2010, Mercedes-Benz Vans was a pioneer in the field of locally emission-free transporters. Today, customers can choose from four battery-electric driven vans: the eVito Panel Van, the eSprinter, the eVito Tourer and the EQV. With the new eCitan and the upcoming EQT the van portfolio will soon be completely electrified. The next generation eSprinter will be launched in 2023.
The R1T and R1S are flagship products for Rivian, uniquely combining performance, utility, and efficiency. On the commercial side Rivian launched the EDV, which was designed and engineered by Rivian in collaboration with Amazon, as an anchor product to combat climate change at scale in the fleet market.
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