Apr 25, 2019

The stakes of Ford's $500 million electric vehicle investment

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Ford's $500 million investment in EV maker Rivian is a stark sign of how legacy automakers are looking outside their walls to find competitive advantages in the emerging market.

The big picture: It's the latest in a wave of corporate partnerships and joint ventures in the auto industry as big players seek their footing, a topic Axios explored here.

Why it matters: The investment and collaboration deal, which comes in addition to Ford's broader $11 billion in EV-related investments planned over the next few years, could be vital to Ford's future, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note.

  • Ford's reliance on profits from pickup trucks is the "highest dependency on the segment" among automakers, per Morgan Stanley.
  • That makes Ford "particularly exposed to advancements in commercialized EV technology in the segment that could pose an obsolescence risk to Ford’s core franchise," they wrote.
  • The New York Times reports: "Ford is counting on the partnership to accelerate its efforts to field a range of electric cars and trucks, while it also pushes to streamline operations, slash costs and increase profitability."

What's next: In addition to Ford's equity investment, Ford and Rivian plan to develop an all-new EV of some sort (they didn't provide details) using Rivian's "skateboard" platform, which is engineered to accommodate a range of designs.

  • Rivian is already planning to launch 2 EV models next year, a pickup and an SUV, while Ford is also planning new models including an electric version of its popular F-150 pickup.
  • However, per Quartz, Ford won’t use Rivian’s technology for the electric F-150, because that would delay the 2021 launch date.

The bottom line: "In our view, if there were one global OEM who would benefit the most from the advantage of Rivian’s momentum in EVs, it’s Ford," Morgan Stanley analysts said.

Go deeper: This EV startup for adventurers has a two-part strategy for success

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,405,029 — Total deaths: 344,997 — Total recoveries — 2,168,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,642,021 — Total deaths: 97,698 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans sue California over mail-out ballot plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a February news conference in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump accused Democrats of trying "Rig" November's general election as Republican groups filed a lawsuit against California Sunday in an attempt to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from mailing ballots to all registered voters.

Driving the news: Newsom signed an executive order this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensuring that all registered voters in the state receive a mail-in ballot.

Federal judge strikes down Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before voting

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: oe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that a Florida law requiring convicted felons to pay all court fines and fees before registering to vote is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling, which will likely be appealed by state Republicans, would clear the way for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons in Florida to register to vote ahead of November's election.