The new plant will officially start the production of the EVs in 2020, but until then, the location has been facing some changes to adapt to the needs of Rivian.
“We demolitioned all of the old, prior equipment that was built for cars. And so obviously when we’re building trucks and larger Amazon vehicles, we need to re-engineer and retool the entire plant. So right now I’d say about 90% of it has been demolition. (…) So probably in December, January timeframe, we’ll be installing all of the battery equipment.”
Another process essential to the automaker is, of course, hiring enough people for the manufacturing job. Putting together a car is not easy, and having the right people is the most important thing for any carmaker. Without its main force, the vehicle doesn’t even leave the garage. Tall develops this idea:
“Obviously the most will be team members that actually assemble the car. It’s the most important position that we can hire at the plant. That’s not to say that our engineers and our salary people are not anywhere as important, but the team members that put the car (together) are really the focus. They become the experts. (…) They’re the ones that build the quality into the vehicle. So it’s crucial to have as many conscientious team members that we can because they build the vehicle, and they instill the quality. And so you only get one shot of building the brand, one shot at quality. And so that’s probably the most important. We probably need 500 to 600 team members to put the cars together.”
In Normal, IL, an event held by Rivian showed a little bit more of the upcoming truck and SUV. It was the first event by the automaker that was aimed at the general public that not necessarily ordered the EVs.
Matt Tall said:
“Obviously, we’re taking resumes, and so probably in the next six, eight months we’ll ramp up the hiring to the point where we’ll be producing things.”
Here are some images of the event shared on the subreddit of Rivian, r/Rivian: