EV startup Rivian seeks second assembly plant as it closes another $2.5 billion funding round

·2 min read

Rivian, which pushed the production launch of its Illinois-built electric truck back to September, is already scouting locations for a second assembly plant down the road.

The startup EV truck manufacturer confirmed it is looking to build a second factory, with multiple states bidding for the project, but said Friday the Normal plant remains at the center of Rivian’s production plans.

“Normal is a launching pad and a cornerstone for Rivian’s strategy and development for decades to come,” Rivian spokesman Zach Dietmeier said in an email.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Rivian has more than 2,200 employees working at its sole production facility, a converted Mitsubishi plant in Normal, a rural college town about 130 miles south of Chicago. It has 7,000 employees overall.

Already behind its original schedule, Rivian’s first production vehicle — a launch edition of its R1T electric pickup truck — was supposed to roll off the line this month, but CEO RJ Scaringe told preorder customers last week the semiconductor chip shortage has pushed the launch back to September.

The sprawling Normal plant, which sits on a 503-acre site, is expected to have 3,000 workers by early 2022, Dietmeier said. Previously announced plans to expand plant operations with the acquisition of an additional 380 acres of adjacent farmland remain on track.

“We continue to work with the Town of Normal and other regional partners on future local expansion plans,” Dietmeier said. “Our second manufacturing project is in addition to our plans in Central Illinois; there is no replacement or reduction whatsoever for the scope of our Normal campus.”

The company began taking preorders in November of launch editions of its R1T truck and R1S SUV, with initial plans to begin delivery in June. The inaugural models have 300-plus miles of range and go from zero to 60 mph in 3 seconds. Prices were recently reduced by $2,000 per vehicle, and start at $73,000 for the truck and $75,500 for the SUV, offset by a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Rivian is also building 100,000 custom EV delivery vans for Amazon, one of several major investors that valued the startup at $28 billion at the start of the year. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was shuttled to the launch of the Blue Origin rocket that took him briefly into space last week in a preproduction Rivian SUV.

On Friday, Rivian announced another $2.5 billion in funding. The latest investment round was led by Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, D1 Capital Partners, Ford Motor Co. and T. Rowe Price.

Rivian has raised about $10.5 billion from investors since 2019.

“As we near the start of vehicle production, it’s vital that we keep looking forward and pushing through to Rivian’s next phase of growth,” Scaringe said in a news release.

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