Rivian and Volkswagen's Joint Venture is Good News for Sustainable Careers

Rivian dashboard infotainment screen
Credit: Rivian


There have always been partnerships in the automotive world. While they battle for your attention and dollars via ads, automakers have replied on one another for decades. This is especially true when new technologies are emerging. The latest announcement is good news for EV adoption, careers in automotive production, and for fans of retro-styled electric vehicles. 

This week Rivian and Volkswagen announced a partnership in which VW will initially invest $1 billion in a joint venture between the companies to create a software-defined vehicle platform. Volkswagen also plans to invest an additional $4 billion in the joint venture. In total the German automaker will invest $5 billion to work with Rivian on one of the toughest parts of building electric vehicles, software. 

The joint venture benefits both companies in huge ways. Volkswagen has had a history of issues with software as it transitions to electrification. That resulted in of the ID.4 being panned in some early reviews for sub-par infotainment system performance. For Rivian, while its vehicles have enjoyed good reviews and solid sales, as a new company it's still burning through cash. Even the most recent updates to the vehicles which will cut manufacturing costs will unlikely result in short-term profitability. 

This joint venture gives VW some much-needed help with building a solid electrical architecture for its future EVs. Rivian benefits by securing capital to manufacture its upcoming R2 small SUV which it showed off earlier this year and is expected to hit the streets in the first half of 2026. That vehicle will be eventually joined by the smaller retro-styled R3. 

The news also benefits those looking to work in sustainable mobility. Building a software-defined vehicle (SDV) requires computer engineers with vast knowledge of battery and electric powertrain technology. Both these automakers will be able to bring new and updated vehicles to market which will require more battery production and additional vehicle manufacturing at the automaker's US-based plants. 

When a partnership works, the benefits are felt by not just the companies, but by the industry as a whole. It'll be interesting to see what Rivian and Volkswagen come up with in the next few years. 

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