Rivian Automotive is in the early stages of determining the location for a second manufacturing plant of their electric vehicle trucks, according to a spokesperson for the company. The Amazon-backed venture will also produce battery cells at the facility, they said.
Multiple states have submitted bids for “Project Tera,” which will be officially announced in a couple of months and is expected to break ground in early 2022, according to Reuters. Rivian’s first plant is located in central Illinois.
A new vehicle assembly plant can cost $1 billion or more, and battery cell production plants are at least $2 billion to build, said Reuters. Currently, Samsung supplies battery cells to Rivian. The new battery cell plant is expected to include a 50 GWh production operation, built in phases, according to documents seen by the Reuters news agency that were submitted to state economic development officials.
The California-based automaker will seek a valuation of over $50 billion in a potential public listing later this year. Rivian is developing a pickup truck, SUV, and a delivery van for Amazon. Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric vans through 2024, with production scheduled to begin this fall. The Rivian R1T electric truck was originally intended to release to consumers this month, but Covid-related delays have pushed that release to September, and the R1S SUV to later this fall.
The R1T truck has been the cornerstone product on display in Rivian’s offerings. It claims a 250+ mile range, with a 400+ mile model expected in 2022. The quad-motor (one motor per wheel) engine goes 0-60 in 3 seconds, can tow up to 11,000 lbs., and can wade in depths of three feet or more. The front axle is powered by a 415 horsepower unit with 413 ft lbs. of torque, and the rear axle supplies 420 horsepower and 495 ft lbs. of torque. The truck comes with a 175,000 powertrain warranty for
Fast charging at over 200kW for sustained periods are capable with the R1T, said Rivian. It also contains independent air suspension, allowing for six and a half inches of height adjustment, optimizing the vehicle’s ride height for improved handling, aerodynamics, and stability with varying payloads.
Rivian will seek to compete in the burgeoning global consumer EV market with their light duty truck and SUV models. Recent analysis by Ernst & Young (EY) shows that combined electric vehicle sales in the US, China, and Europe may outpace all other engine sales by 2033. By 2045, EY said non-EV sales could shrink to less than one percent of overall sales.
Allied Market Research estimates the global electric truck market will have a compound annual growth rate of 25.8% from 2020 to 2027. Rivian joins a growing list of manufacturers building electric trucks domestically in the U.S. that aim to be the pacemakers for this growth.
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