First time that I heard about Rivian was some time ago when there were some talks about a company wanting to buy a “old” Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois. At the time I did not give to much attention, and to be honest after that day I never heard about the company created by a MIT graduate named RJ Scaringe.
Out of nowhere, I read the news that Rivian closed the deal on the plant! I was a little shocked by the news. How can a company like that be in shadows for that long, what kind of car they are making? Who really is RJ Scaringe? Who else is working there? Where the money is coming from? Well, some of that questions were answered, some of then remains a mystery.
The plant in question has more than 2.6 million-square-foot, but the company only has 100 employees so far. Even with all that secrecy, they are in hiring spree. They managed to put their hands in a few talents in the industry. The chief engineer of vehicles is Lawrence Achram, a former Chrysler executive. Gary Gloceri is responsible for the power train development. He worked on the Ford Focus Electric project. Furthermore, coming from Chrysler is Winfield Coachman, plant manager. The design team have Larry Erikson as a leader. Larry is former Chief Designer at GM and Ford.
The price tag of the plant was not revealed. To have a comparison, Tesla paid $42 million in 2010 for the Toyota NUMMI plant, with is double of size of the one in Normal and that one can produce 240,000 cars per year at full capacity. They plans to have their first card ready in the year 2019.
Rivian is now officially in the electric vehicle game, but a lot of question remains with the company. This mystery atmosphere is part of the fun (and marketing). We at The Next Avenue are going to be following them at every step and bring all the answers we can find. That’s no question about that.