The Blue Oval will also invest US$500 million ($700 million) in the startup automaker, and take a seat on the board of directors.

Ford has confirmed it will be build a new EV on Rivian’s skateboard platform.

No details about the new car have been announced, but given the skateboard platform has been designed for off-road use in Rivian’s R1T pickup truck (below) and R1S Suburban-fighter, it’s likely the Ford EV will be an SUV.

It’s unclear if the new Rivian-based EV will be built at a Ford factory or Rivian’s ex-Mitsubishi facility in Normal, Illinois.

The new EV will be developed in addition to Ford’s already confirmed electric cars: a new Mustang-inspired EV crossover, and an all-electric version of the F-150 pickup truck.

Ford has also decided to invest US$500 million ($700 million) in Rivian in exchange for a minority stake in the new automaker. The electric car company will remain independent, but Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s head of global operations, will join Rivian’s seven-member board.

“Ford has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, with Bill Ford being one of the industry's earliest advocates, and we are excited to use our technology to get more electric vehicles on the road," RJ Scaringe, Rivian's founder and CEO, said of today's agreement.

Jim Hackett, Ford's CEO, said in a prepared statement: “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.

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

Rivian recently received second round of investment, worth US$700 million ($980 million), and lead by Amazon. Rivian was reportedly engaged in talks with GM, but the discussions broke down.

The startup automaker plans to begin production of its R1S and R1T models from late 2020. Ford may not be the only external company to make use of Rivian's skateboard platform, with the Pininfarina PF1 crossover reportedly set to based on it too.

It’s not clear how the partnership with Rivian will affect Ford’s discussions with Volkswagen.

Earlier this year the two companies announced they would work together on a variety of commercial vehicle projects, with the next-generation Amarok to be based on the Ranger, and the Transit and Transporter to use the same platform.

The two automakers have also been discussing combining their autonomous driving efforts, and whether Ford can utilise Volkswagen’s upcoming MEB electric car platform.