Ready or not, here Rivian comes! The nascent EV maker revealed plans Thursday to build a $5 billion plant in just outside of Atlanta, just three months after its first production-ready vehicle rolled off its assembly line in Illinois.
The company expects to employ 7,500 people when it’s running at full speed. Slated to open in 2024, the facility will eventually build 400,000 vehicles annually. Currently, Rivian is only producing its R1T all-electric pickup truck. The R1S, its sport-utility vehicle, will begin production shortly. Rivian is also contracted to build 100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon, its largest investor.
“We’re happy to partner with Georgia on our new manufacturing site, which will build our next generation of products that are important for scaling our business,” said Rivian Chief People Officer Helen Russell in a statement. CEO R.J. Scaringe wasn’t quoted in the release nor did he comment on Twitter.
“Our work together is driven by a compelling purpose and rooted in building a highly collaborative environment that creates a true sense of belonging. We’re excited for Georgians to bring their creativity and ideas to Rivian. We’re confident that, alongside Illinois, Georgia is the place for Rivian to continue to scale and thrive.”
The plant is the largest economic development project in Georgia’s history. It will be located on a nearly 2,000-acre parcel of property known as the East Atlanta Megasite as it encompasses parts of four counties.
Construction is set to begin next summer with production starting in 2024. No word was given about what vehicles the new plant will build, but the State of Georgia did describe it as a “carbon-conscious campus.”
The site sits along the I-20 corridor, allowing it easy access to a variety of transport, particularly interstate highways and railways and a direct line to the Port of Savannah.
“We are so proud that Georgia will now be home to Rivian’s largest manufacturing facility,” said Governor Brian Kemp in a release. “This single investment — the largest in state history — represents the future of automotive manufacturing and establishes the leading role the Peach State will play in this booming industry for generations to come.
“In addition to Georgia’s long-term focus on logistics, talent, workforce, and responsive government that significantly contributed to today’s pivotal announcement, my administration’s more recent emphasis on innovation and development in the electric mobility ecosystem has equipped our state with a new tool in the tool box to deliver big wins for hardworking Georgians.”
Not just Atlanta
Rivian noted it’s not just expanding its operations with the second plant in Georgia, but also scaling up its capacity at its existing plant in Normal, Illinois. The plant was recently approved for a 623,000-square-foot expansion. The added room brings the total size of the Normal plant to approximately 4 million square feet, with further plans to extend warehouse, storage, and production capacity.
If you’re building it bigger, it’s likely you’ll need more people and Rivian’s hiring an additional 800-1,000 employees in Normal by the second quarter of 2022. Rivian and Georgia are planning 2022 town hall events near the manufacturing site so that area residents can learn more about the company and the site plan, the company noted.
The startup’s enjoyed a busy year with the delivery of its first vehicles as well as going public on the Nasdaq.
The company’s stock opened at $78 per share — giving it a valuation of $66.5 billion — with 153 million shares of common stock available, which was bigger than initially planned. The stock jumped up to nearly $120 per share midday before settling down to close at $100.73 per share.
The gross proceeds from the offering to Rivian, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses payable by Rivian, are expected to be approximately $11.9 billion, excluding any exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares. The company sent out an email not long after the market opened.