Mercedes-Benz, Rivian accomplice for EV business automobiles in Europe

Production of Amazon electric delivery trucks on April 11, 2022 at Rivian’s facility in Normal, Illinois.

Michael Wayland/CNBC

Mercedes-Benz and Rivian announced on Thursday that they are planning a joint venture to build large, electric commercial vehicles for both brands.

The companies plan to produce two different EV vans — one for each automaker — on a shared assembly line, they said. The idea is to reduce costs for both companies by sharing investments, technology and suppliers.

They plan to build a new all-electric manufacturing facility at an existing Mercedes-Benz factory site in Central or Eastern Europe, with production slated to begin in “a couple of years,” the two companies said in a statement.

“Mercedes‑Benz Vans has gained extensive experience in the production and market launch of eVans since 2010. Now we are accelerating the transformation towards an all-electric product portfolio,” said Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes Commercial Vans. “We share investments and technology [with Rivian] because we also share the same strategic goal: to accelerate the electrification of the van market with sustainable and superior products for our customers.”

While Mercedes-Benz has been building commercial vehicles for many years and electric vans for more than a decade, Rivian is a newcomer to the segment. The California-based EV startup began manufacturing EV pickup trucks for Amazon earlier this year, just months after it began producing its own high-end electric pickups and SUVs at its Illinois factory.

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Although the vans that Mercedes and Rivian will eventually build will likely be similar, they will have different designs: Mercedes will be based on its forthcoming new EV van architecture, due to debut in 2025; Rivian relies on the next-generation version of the light van platform it developed for Amazon.

Correction: This story has been updated to correct that Rivian is based in California.

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