Fledgling electric-vehicle maker Rivian, which after a few delays is set to launch its first two all-electric models soon, plans to build a second assembly plant in the United States. The new facility will also produce battery cells.
At least that's what four sources familiar with the matter said, according to Autoblog. The media outlet also quoted Rivian spokeswoman Amy Mast as saying, “While it's early in an evolving process, Rivian is exploring locations for a second U.S. manufacturing facility”. She declined to provide further details, however.
Several states are expressing interest in receiving Rivian's second plant - the first is located in Normal, Illinois – and have responded to the company's request for proposals. The final selection will be announced in a few months, and construction is expected to begin early next year, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
With the delays experienced due to the pandemic, a lot about that timeline could still change, but it does give an idea of Rivian’s plans. The fledgling company has some big names with big wallets behind it, including Amazon, it should be remembered.
“We look forward to working with a supportive, technology-forward community in order to create a partnership as strong as the one we have with Normal," spokesperson Mast said.
As for the cost, we'll have to see, although it’s generally accepted that setting up a new vehicle assembly plant can run at least $1 billion. It’s estimated, moreover, that building a battery production plant costs at least twice that. Given that significant hurdle, many automakers have chosen to partner with battery manufacturers for cell production. Samsung SDI Co, for example, already supplies battery cells to Rivian.
Automakers are moving aggressively to develop electric vehicles, as regions around the world – led by Europe and China - tighten carbon emission reduction standards. In North America, Ford and GM are redesigning their plants for electric production, and recently Stellantis announced major plans for electrification, which will impact brands like Dodge and Jeep.
Rivian, meanwhile, continues to prepare the launch of its R1T pickup and R1S SUV, as well as the delivery van it’s preparing for Amazon. Certainly, these are among the most anticipated models of the year across the industry.