More details have emerged regarding EV startup Rivian’s plans to build a second US electric vehicle assembly plant, in addition to the existing one in Normal, Illinois.
According to a company document seen by Reuters, the plant known as "Project Tera” will require an initial investment of $5 billion and will “support roughly 10,000+ jobs.” The factory is said to require 2,000 acres (809 hectares) of land, but we should take that with a grain of salt considering that BMW's largest plant worldwide, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, occupies "only" about 1,200 acres.
The target date to start production at the new Rivian plant is the second quarter of 2023, with construction beginning in the fall of 2021. However, that timeline will be likely delayed by up to six months because of the pandemic, several people familiar with the matter said.
Last week, Reuters broke the news that Rivian planned to build a second U.S. plant that included battery cell production. The second plant will reportedly include a 50 gigawatt-hour (GWh) battery cell production operation built in phases, as well as a product and technology center.
Gallery: Rivian R1S Testing In Michigan
While the location of the new Rivian plant has not been disclosed, one of the sites being considered is east of Mesa, Arizona, two unnamed sources who are in the loop told the news agency. One of them claims that Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe has spoken with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey about the project but that hasn't been confirmed.
Rivian already has a small engineering and test facility in Wittmann, about 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Phoenix. Arizona has become increasingly popular with automakers due to its lower taxes and cost of living, as well as the lack of hurricanes and floods.
In a region in Pinal County dubbed the Arizona Innovation and Technology Corridor, EV startups Lucid Group and Nikola Corp have opened or are building factories, while Nissan and Volkswagen have vehicle proving grounds.
Backed by Amazon, Ford Motor Company, and T. Rowe Price, Rivian has raised $10.5 billion since the beginning of 2019, including $2.5 billion last week.
Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the company to repeatedly delay the launch of its R1T and R1S electric vehicles, with the most recent launch dates being September for the pickup and later in the fall for the SUV. However, Rivian’s Amazon delivery van seems to be on track.