Electric Vehicles Dare to Move Keep Ford, Bollinger, Rivian in Game

Businesses that are already producing electric vehicles (EVs) and those planning to start have made bold business moves this week that are predicted to keep them relevant in the EV and hands-free driving conversation.

Ford Motor Company, Rivian, Mercedes-Benz, Bollinger Motors and Mullen Automotive all make important news about their product portfolios.

Many analysts see the electric vehicle industry at a tipping point over the next few years. “There has never been a better time in the industry for automakers to seek joint ventures than switching to EVs. EV technology development, materials and production are all capital intensive, so cost sharing makes sense and goes a long way,” Paul Waatti, manager industry analysis at AutoPacific says News Week.

Rivan and Mercedes-Benz

Electric vehicle startup Rivian and longtime automotive nameplate Mercedes-Benz have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a strategic partnership for electric van production in Europe.

The partnership, still subject to regulatory clearance, is designed to establish a new joint manufacturing company in Europe that will manufacture large electric vans for Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian. The new electric production facility will utilize existing Mercedes sites in Central/Eastern Europe.

An Amazon EDV Rivian is pictured on a street in California in this press flyer photo.
Rivian

Mercedes currently makes the eSprinter and eVito electric vans. Rivian is building a delivery van for Amazon. Among Mercedes’ production facilities in the region are factories in Germany, Austria and Hungry. Rivian builds his models at his one-of-a-kind factory in Normal, Illinois, USA

Production at the new facility is expected to create two branded vehicles side by side. The first will be based on the Mercedes-Benz Vans Electric Architecture and the other will be a second-generation electric van using the Rivian Light Van platform.

“Rivian and Mercedes-Benz have both shown great promise in the electric vehicle space of the future and already have established technologies to bring to the table,” said Waatti.

“While the van will be unique to each automaker, code development of the two side-by-side will reduce development costs and speed up timelines. Undoubtedly there will be multiple components together that will benefit from scale in reducing the cost of parts for both and enabling efficient production on a common line under one production facility roof.

“Rivian has gone to great lengths to get the current model off the door and conjure up several future product projects. Rivian is also securing more future production capacity for models other than the new van at its US production site in the process.”

Mercedes previously announced that all of its vans, starting in 2025, will be battery powered.

Mullen Automotive and Bollinger Motors

New face EV Mullen Automotive has purchased a 60 percent controlling stake in Bollinger Motors for $148.2 million USD in cash. This is the company’s first EV acquisition after buying many of its building blocks from other companies along the way.

Bollinger B1 prototype
A prototype Bollinger B1 is pictured driving outside in this press leaflet photo.
Bollinger Motorcycles

Bollinger Motors was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Oak Park, Michigan. Mullen Automotive is based in Southern California.

Bollinger Motors’ business model plans to start production of the 3-8 class medium-duty trucks in 2023. It is slated to restart development of the B1 and B2 sports vehicles (SUVs).

“Combining Bollinger vehicles with our existing Class 1 and Class 2 EV cargo van program gives us the opportunity to dominate the entire class 1-6 commercial light and medium truck segment. Additionally, Bollinger will be able to leverage Mullen’s solid-state battery technology, making their current vehicles more competitive as our technology rolls out across the EV portfolio of both Mullen and Bollinger,” said David Michelery, CEO and chairman of Mullen Automotive in a press release.

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company vehicle drivers have completed 16 million miles of hands-free driving since the company launched its Ford BlueCruise and Lincoln ActiveGlide driver assistance technology over the past year.

This new update to the technology includes most of the capabilities of the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) with General Motors’ Super Cruise, although it is still lagging in some areas.

2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Ford Mustang Mach-E 2023 is seen sitting in the parking lot.
Ford Motor Company

Three major improvements to the system will be available in Ford electric vehicles. Lane Change Assist allows the driver to tap the turn signal to initiate the process for the system to make an automatic lane change. This technology allows the vehicle to suggest land changes to the driver.

Predictive Speed ​​Assist automatically adjusts vehicle speed when technology recognizes approaching sharp turns. Unlike the way the technology works on Hyundai and Nissan vehicles, the driver will receive a signal that a change is imminent.

In-Lane Repositioning takes hands-free driving to new heights, according to the company. It is designed to make the art of driving “feel more natural” by keeping the vehicle in its lane while subtly repositioning it based on the proximity of the surrounding vehicles.

“This upgrade is just the beginning of a constant journey towards improving safety and giving valuable time back to customers,” said Doug Field, Chief EV & Digital Systems Officer, Ford Model E.

The new technology will begin to appear in vehicles coming from the factory this fall, starting with the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV. This model was sold out for the 2022 model year. Sales were up 74.1 percent in July.

Ford recently announced that the model year 2023 Mustang Mach-Es will increase battery life. The extended range version will be able to cover 290 miles on a single charge.

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