Mercedes-Benz Vans
The eVito is one of the electric vans in Mercedes' lineup today.

Rivian, Mercedes partnering on electric vans

Sept. 8, 2022
If approved, the manufacturing joint venture would build an electric-only plant leveraging a site in Central Europe. Mercedes-Benz executives have been pushing their van operation toward an electric-only model for several years.

The leaders of Rivian Automotive and Mercedes-Benz Vans have signed a memorandum outlining a strategic partnership to build electric delivery vans in Central or Eastern Europe.

The companies’ cooperation plan, which still needs several regulatory approvals and the signing of a binding agreement, envisions the manufacturing of two types of large vans based on each company’s production platform but designed to be built on common assembly lines. Work would be done at a new electric-only facility piggybacking on an existing Mercedes‑Benz site in Europe and could lead to other projects down the road. The companies are not yet sharing numbers about the scale of their investments and possible production volumes.

See also: Rivian sticks to 2022 target, preps Illinois shift addition

Shares of Rivian (Ticker: RIVN) popped on the news Sept. 8 and were up 7% to about $35.60 in afternoon trading. They’re still down about 15% over the past six months, which has trimmed the company’s market capitalization to about $31 billion.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Mercedes‑Benz on this project,” Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said in a statement. “We believe that together we will produce truly remarkable electric vans which will not only benefit our customers, but the planet.”

Mercedes-Benz executives have been pushing their van operation toward an electric-only model for several years. The company today markets four models and has two others in the pipeline. By 2025, it will only make midsize and large vans that are electric. Mathias Geisen, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, called Rivian “a highly dynamic and inspiring partner with a strong technology position.”

The new van project adds another big strategic leg to Rivian’s growth plans, which include providing Amazon with 100,000 delivery vans, the first batch of which it handed over earlier this summer. The company late last year also announced it would spend $5 billion to build a manufacturing plant in Georgia scheduled to open in 2024. Executives last month said they are preparing to add a second shift at their Illinois factory.

About the Author

Geert De Lombaerde | Senior Editor

A native of Belgium, Geert De Lombaerde has more than two decades of business journalism experience and writes about markets and economic trends for Endeavor Business Media publications FleetOwner, Healthcare InnovationIndustryWeek, Oil & Gas Journal and T&D World. With a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, he began his reporting career at the Business Courier in Cincinnati and later was managing editor and editor of the Nashville Business Journal. Most recently, he oversaw the online and print products of the Nashville Post and reported primarily on Middle Tennessee’s finance sector as well as many of its publicly traded companies.

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