Rivian Automotive buys huge factory for EV manufacturing

Posted on 12 Jan 2017 by Michael Cruickshank

Rivian Automotive, a relatively unknown US electric vehicle startup has this week burst into the spotlight buying a huge new factory.

Rivian Automotive's newly purchased production facility in Normal, Illinois. Image courtesy of Rivian Automotive.
Rivian Automotive’s newly purchased production facility in Normal, Illinois. Image courtesy of Rivian Automotive.

The company came out of ‘stealth mode’ to confirm the purchase of a large former Mitsubishi car factory in Normal, Illinois for an undisclosed price.

Measuring a total of 2.4 million sqft, the factory is about half as large as Tesla’s newly opened Gigafactory.

At its peak, the factory employed around 3,000 workers, however, was forced to shut down production in late 2015. Rivian itself was founded in 2009, and until recently only had around 100 workers.

Things began to change for Rivian in 2015 when the company reportedly receiving significant funding from an unknown investor, providing it with the money it needed to buy this factory and amp up operations.

“We couldn’t be more excited to purchase this tremendous facility in the town of Normal,” said founder and CEO, RJ Scaringe in a release. “This location will be crucial to bringing our products to market, and we look forward to being an active part of this vibrant community.”

All up. the company plans to invest $175m into the Normal site and claims that it will create at least 1,000 jobs. According to local reporting, the company is also looking to receive significant financial incentives from the Illinois state government.

Rivian intends for the new factory to function as a full-scale production site for its first line of electric vehicles. The company has yet to reveal any of its prototypes, however, it has hinted that it may unveil its first vehicle later this year.

If all goes to plan Rivian Automotive plans to initiate full-scale production in the factory by as early as 2019.Given its low-profile nature, little is known about exactly what kind of vehicle Rivian intends to manufacture at the factory, however, it’s generally understood to be working on electric and autonomous vehicles, similar to competitors, Tesla and Faraday Future.