Ford Motor Company has announced an equity investment of $500-million (that's around R7,2-billion) in US automotive technology company Rivian, with the deal also giving the Blue Oval brand access to the Michigan-based start-up's “skateboard” EV platform.

A joint statement says the companies have agreed to “work together to develop an all-new, next-generation battery electric vehicle for Ford’s growing EV portfolio using Rivian’s skateboard platform”.

This will be in addition to Ford’s existing plans to develop a portfolio of electric vehicles. As part of its previously announced $11-billion EV investment, Ford already has confirmed two key upcoming electric vehicles: a “Mustang-inspired crossover” and a zero-emissions version of its F-150 bakkie.

The statement added Rivian will remain an “independent company”, with the investment “subject to customary regulatory approval”. Following the investment, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of automotive, is expected to join Rivian’s seven-member board.

“As we continue in our transformation of Ford with new forms of intelligent vehicles and propulsion, this partnership with Rivian brings a fresh approach to both,” said Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO.

“At the same time, we believe Rivian can benefit from Ford’s industrial expertise and resources.”

Rivian is currently putting the finishing touches to its five-passenger R1T bakkie (pictured above) and seven-passenger R1S SUV, electric vehicles it says will each deliver more than 600 km of range.