Rivian’s electric pickup truck assembly plant in Normal, Illinois had a “small” battery fire on October 26, according to the local fire department.
In a press statement, Normal Fire Department (NFD) said the fire was reported at around 5:00 pm and ignited in a battery assembly area.
“Firefighters located a small fire in an automated battery sub-assembly area and used a hose line to extinguish the fire quickly and cool the cells to prevent thermal runaway. There was minimal smoke which was ventilated from the building using the HVAC system and exhaust fans, and the employees were allowed to return to the building after a short time.”
NFD added that there were no injuries, while damage to the plant building and the assembly process is negligible. After the fire was put out, plant maintenance and cleaning staff were working to clean up the water and return the plant to regular operations.
The fire department did not elaborate on the exact cause of the fire, though the statement seems to suggest it originated in a battery sub-module.
“A battery sub-module is one of several sub-modules which are assembled to create a full vehicle battery pack, which is what powers the completed vehicle. The battery sub-module is about the size of a briefcase.”
Rivian uses cells from Samsung SDI in its R1T electric pickup truck.
By the looks of it, this was a minor incident that hopefully will not delay Rivian’s efforts to ramp up manufacturing at its plant in Normal. From the start of production on September 14 until October 22, the EV startup only managed to build 56 R1T electric pickups.
Since that's under two vehicles a day, it goes without saying that Rivian will need to do much better to honor the 48,000 preorders it has for the R1T pickup and R1S SUV. The EV maker plans to start production of the R1S and the Amazon delivery van in December.