EV maker Rivian’s plans to add a second plant in the U.S. seem to have gone south — to Texas. The company, which expects to begin delivering its first vehicles early next year, is reportedly in discussions to build a $5 billion facility near Fort Worth, Texas.
The company revealed recently it was looking to add a second site, dubbed Project Tera, even though its first vehicle hasn’t hit the streets yet. The company currently occupies the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois.
“Rivian is in discussions with multiple locations as part of a competitive process for siting a second manufacturing facility,” said Jim Chen, Rivian’s vice president of public policy, in a statement emailed to TheDetroitBureau.com.
“This may include Rivian being involved in certain public-facing processes at potential locations. Involvement in these processes does not indicate a final decision.”
Rivian is fast approaching the launch of its new R1T all-electric pickup and R1S sport-utility vehicle. For most companies that would be plenty of work, but it’s also working with Amazon to develop battery-electric delivery van. Amazon is a major investor in the startup, and has a contract for 100,000 of the vans, which it played a role in designing.
Meanwhile, the nascent EV maker is expected to help another major investor, Ford Motor Co., bring a Rivian-based BEV to market.
Lone Startup State
If a deal is worked out with Fort Worth, which was first reported by Bloomberg, Rivian will be the second electric vehicle producer to set up an operation in Texas. Tesla is in the final stages of construction on its massive Giga Austin plant, just outside of the city. The new site will build the company’s best-selling vehicle, the Model Y, when it opens in the fourth quarter of this year.
The company will add the much-anticipated Cybertruck and Semi truck to its production run at the site, starting next year. Tesla also considered Tulsa, Oklahoma before selecting Austin. The site will also produce battery packs for vehicles. If the deal works out, the to facilities will be just about 200 miles away from one another.
The complex, according to the RFP, would be at least 2,000 acres, and Rivian wants to quickly turn to renewable energy to power it.
Finding another spot
The move by Rivian to hold talks before making a decision is par for the course. In fact, companies routinely negotiate major concessions that can include new road and rail links, tax abatements, energy supplies and help with worker training, among other things.
Electric vehicles are expected to require fewer workers than conventional plants since these vehicles generally have fewer parts — and production of some key components, such as their battery packs, are largely automated.
But, like Tesla, and some other upcoming EV production centers, the second Rivian plant is expected to include what has come to be known in the industry as a “gigafactory,” an operation to produce the batteries Rivian will need. According to Reuters, it eventually will have 50 gigawatt-hours of annual capacity.