Rivian To Build 2nd Manufacturing Facility And 50 GWh Battery Factory

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Rivian is bullish about its future. The first of its electric pickup trucks and SUVs haven’t even rolled off the assembly line in Normal, Illinois, yet but it is already making plans for a second assembly line and 50 GWh battery factory.

According to Reuters, 4 people with knowledge of the company’s plans say the company has reached out to several states about its expansion plans, which are codenamed Project Tera. The final location is expected to be announced within the next few months, with construction of the new facilities to begin early next year.

“While it’s early in an evolving process, Rivian is exploring locations for a second U.S. manufacturing facility,” Rivian spokesperson Amy Mast said on Thursday. She declined to provide further details. “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.”

Rivian says it expects it new manufacturing facilities to be carbon neutral as soon as possible, which suggests the use of renewable energy will be a key component of its expansion plans. Reuters says a new assembly line typically costs about $1 billion and a new battery factory about $2 billion. Its current battery supplier is Samsung SDI. Rivian has plans to become a publicly traded company in the near future, with an initial valuation of at least $50 billion.

All of its plans are being affected by the latest surge in COVID-19 cases in the US. Just last week the company announced it is pushing back the first deliveries of its R1T pickup truck to September and its R1S SUV until later this fall. The pandemic may also delay the start of construction for its new factories, which are expected to occupy at least 2000 acres of land and will include a product and technology center.

In addition to the R1T and R1S, Rivian is also building electric delivery vans for Amazon, which is the largest investor in the company. CEO RJ Scaringe indicated last fall his company is considering building smaller vehicles for the Chinese and European markets in the future. That might suggest a Chinese factory is a possibility in order to avoid the hefty import taxes levied by the Chinese government.

That is all speculation at this point. What is important is that a company that has yet to sell a single vehicle is already making aggressive plans to expand. That should tell you something about what direction the EV revolution is headed.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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