Rivian Automotive (Stealth EV Startup) Granted $49.5 Million In Tax Credits From Illinois, Governor Announces

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The still relatively secretive electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive has been granted (providing certain employment benchmarks are met) $49.5 million in Edge tax credits in Illinois, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently announced.

“Edge” tax credits — “Economic Development for a Growing Economy” tax credits — allow companies operating in Illinois to receive employee state income tax revenue.

The news is of course tied to the relatively recent reports that Rivian Automotive (founded in 2009) has acquired the old Mitsubishi manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois. The company is reportedly planning to begin production in 2020.

Teslarati provides more: “Rivian’s founder RJ Scaringe has a doctorate from MIT’s Sloan Automotive Laboratory. Scaringe said that his interest in vehicles started at a very young age, and tinkered with cars throughout his life. While at MIT, Scaringe considered dropping out to pursue starting up his own automotive company. Eventually, after fielding a few investment offers, he decided to stay at MIT and finish up his degree.

“Rivian purchased the Normal, Illinois plant for $2M in January, which doesn’t include the factory’s equipment that was purchased in a separate transaction. This strategy is very similar to (the) one employed by Tesla when it first acquired the NUMMI plant in Fremont.”

This approach of course stands in quite a bit of contrast to that being taken by Lucid Motors and Faraday Future. (To be fair here, Lucid Motors seems to be pursuing a much more realistic development path than Faraday Future has been.)

The company described the plant this way: “It’s essentially a new plant; it was commissioned in 1990. Mitsubishi did a great job keeping up with all of the equipment and invested massively in the early 2000’s, so the robotics are all in great shape. The paint shop is in great shape, the stamping operation is incredible. So it really is a unique facility, with millions of dollars of equipment sitting inside of it. We are really lucky we have found it!”

To expand on the comments at the beginning of the article about employment benchmarks, if Rivian is to gain access to the tax credits on offer, then the company will need to create 1,000 jobs over the next decade.

Commenting on that, Governor Rauner, stated: “I’ve spent 45 minutes talking with RJ, talking strategy and product development and it’s incredible what he’s doing. … We are hoping to move many of their people here in Illinois, we are working with them on that.”

Those are interesting comments because Rauner actually used to run the private equity firm GTCR (which he founded as well), which had assets of more than $11 billion.

Something else worth noting here is that the former managing director of McLaren Automotive, Antony Sheriff, “lists himself as a member of the board on his LinkedIn” profile, as noted by Teslarati in its coverage.

The startup certainly seems to be a serious one. We’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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