Ford will leverage their investment in automotive startup Rivian to build an electric SUV for their Lincoln brand, Reuters reports.
The Lincoln will use Rivian’s “skateboard” chassis, which Rivian also plans to use in their R1S SUV.
The report is light on details, with no official confirmation from Ford or Rivian. The project apparently has an internal code name (“U787”) but not much else. The report doesn’t specify that the Lincoln would be all-electric, as opposed to plug-in hybrid, but we suspect it would be.
Lincoln currently sells no all-electric vehicles, though it does have some plug-in hybrids. We took our first look at Lincoln’s new Corsair plug-in hybrid, the smallest vehicle in their lineup, at the LA Auto Show.
It’s possible that this U787 project is a plug-in hybrid, but given that it’s going to use the Rivian skateboard chassis, that seems unlikely.
Skateboard designs utilize the mass of batteries and put them on the bottom of the car. This improves center of gravity and adds more packaging freedom in designing the rest of the vehicle. So it wouldn’t really make sense to use the Rivian platform for a plug-in hybrid.
The Lincoln electric SUV would go on sale in 2021 or 2022. They plan a compact electric crossover in that time frame, with a larger entry coming in 2023, according to Reuters. We’ve also received information that this larger entry will be based on a larger version of Ford’s Mach E.
The Rivian R1S is planned for 2021 production and will cost over $70,000. This is more than the base price of the Lincoln Corsair, which is around $36,000. But the R1S is a full-size SUV, so it’s likely that Lincoln’s planned electric SUV models would start cheaper.
Lincoln’s competition is looking into electric SUVs as well. GM is planning an electric Cadillac crossover SUV and may bring Hummer back as an electric car. Both of these are years away.
Ford is working hard on EVs in the meantime, with a lot “coming soon.” The Mustang Mach E was revealed at the LA Auto Show with a planned release next year. Ford is working on an electric F-150 as well.
We haven’t seen official details on the electric F-150 yet, but as America’s best-selling vehicle, electrifying it is going to be a big deal. If Ford is leveraging their Rivian investment to build a Lincoln SUV based on the Rivian R1S, they may well use the same partnership to help build their electric F-150. But that, currently, is speculation.
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