Mercedes‑Benz Vans and electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian, have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding for a “strategic partnership” to cooperate on the production of electric vans.

The German automaker said today all its newly introduced vans will be electric only by mid-decade.

Subject to final binding agreements and relevant regulatory clearances, the two companies will establish a new joint venture manufacturing company with the purpose of investing in, and operating, a factory in Europe to produce large electric vans for both Mercedes‑Benz Vans and Rivian, starting “in a few years”.

The goal is to build a new electric only factory on an existing Mercedes‑Benz site in central/eastern Europe.

The companies envisage production-optimised vehicle designs for efficient manufacturing on common assembly lines. They will produce two large vans, one based on VAN.EA (MB Vans Electric Architecture), the electric-only platform of Mercedes‑Benz Vans, and the other based on the second generation electric-van, Rivian Light Van (RLV) platform. Further options for increased synergies from the joint venture will also be explored.

By working together, they will be able to leverage operations synergies and substantially increase cost efficiency to help make the vans more affordable for commercial customers driven by total cost of ownership.

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Mathias Geisen, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “[We have] gained broad experience in producing and launching eVans since 2010. Now we are accelerating the transformation to a fully electric product portfolio. We are sharing investments and technology because we also share the same strategic ambition: accelerating the electrification of the van market.”

Mercedes‑Benz Vans currently offers four battery electric vans: the eVito Panel Van, the eSprinter, the eVito Tourer and the EQV. An eCitan and EQT are planned and a redesigned eSprinter will be launched in 2023.

Rivian sells the R1T, R1S, and Electric Delivery Van (EDV) last-mile delivery EVs.