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Jul 3

Rivian’s home town is renaming a street in honor of its electrification efforts


The city of Normal, Illinois, home to Rivian’s main manufacturing facility, is to preparing to remove one of the last reminders of its previous automotive tenant in favor of the all-electric car maker’s business interests in the area. A stretch of highway leading to the company’s plant named Mitsubishi Motorway will be renamed to Rivian Motorway if all goes well with the city councils and county board involved in granting the final approvals for the change.


Rivian specifically requested the changes, according to a memo written by Assistant City Manager Eric Hanson to the Normal City Council. “Obviously, it’s not necessarily advantageous for them to bring (potential investors) down Mitsubishi Motorway,” he said. “This is very business driven, and we fully understand that and are supportive of helping them with a name change.” A second road for access to Rivian’s factory is also planned for renaming, citing the same reasons – Sakura Lane will be renamed to Electric Avenue.





Rivian bought their factory headquarters from Mitsubishi in 2017, and efforts are currently underway to transition from a traditional auto manufacturing process to the electrified lineup they have in the works. Many of the workers currently involved in the changeover process were part of the original Mitsubishi team that opened the factory when it was new. Driving these moves are Rivian’s R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV set to debut in 2020, so it’s expected that the company will continue to make further changes that align with its business interests.


The city of Normal has welcomed Rivian’s decision to set up shop in the area and has even offered significant incentives for the car maker to continue investment and development of their operations. Specifically, these include a $1 million dollar grant from Normal for investing $20 million within five years, property tax abatement, and almost $50 million dollars in state tax credits for creating 1,000 jobs over 10 years. Renaming two streets directly connecting to Rivian’s facility only seems like a natural progression considering the company’s current relationship with its manufacturing headquarters.


Along with renovating its factory, Rivian is taking care to address some pitfalls other electric car makers have had to struggle through. “So, we’re spending a huge amount of time solving service,” CEO RJ Scaringe revealed in a recent interview. His comment was in response to a question on how the company plans to address concerns such as parts and service backlogs that have plagued Rivian’s electric car brethren, namely Tesla. Scaringe has also taken positive lessons from its competitor. “[Tesla] showed people that an electric car can be exciting and fun,” he acknowledged while at the Automotive News World Congress.


Overall, it’s certainly not surprising for Rivian to start asserting itself in its local area. This is especially true when considering advantages Mitsubishi enjoyed during its tenure in Normal. The next steps for the company could be to successfully petition lawmakers to allow direct sales in one of its desired markets, Colorado, and perhaps look for a domino effect to achieve that same feat in Texas and elsewhere.



New Posts
  • While it is known that Rivian is working on delivering its new all-electric R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV for 2020, the automaker may have another vehicle in the works. Rivian may be coming to market with an electrified rally car, which Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe told Autocar at the Los Angeles International Auto Show would be “bananas” in the way it performed. The next vehicle that could come down the assembly line for Rivian may be a rally-raid style performance car, which would align with the adventure theme of its R1T and R1S models, Electrek said. Scaringe added that “The third vehicle will have a smaller wheelbase [than the R1S SUV] and will be the Rivian interpretation of a rally car with a lot of ground clearance.” The electric rally car may have already been developed as Rivian Forums believes they spotted the vehicle in its early form at Rivian’s factory. The news outlet said the spotted vehicle had an arching roofline, which was car-like in nature, flared front fenders, and high ground clearance. Rivian has received plenty of backing from investors like Ford ($500 million)  and Amazon ($700 million), with the latter ordering 100,000 electric vans from the company for delivery in 2021. The company has also secured a manufacturing facility in Normal, Illinois, that was previously a Mitsubishi plant for production. source:
  • NORMAL — Normal showed why it's "the envy of communities across the country" Sunday. Thousands gathered around Uptown Circle as  electric car startup Rivian held a community showcase with three prototype vehicles that will be manufactured at the former Mitsubishi plant starting next year — a demonstration of Rivian's growth since it came to town in 2016 and a sign of what's to come. "When this project came to the (McLean) County Board, there was a lot of skepticism. It's a start-up in the electric car industry. ... But here was a chance for this community to see the upside of an exploding industry," said County Board member Carlo Robustelli. "To be here, with the cars, around the circle ... it's really exciting, and it's a testament to forward thinking." Elected and business leaders including Gov. J.B. Pritzker attended to see the R1T pickup and R1S SUV up close and chat with Rivian staffers including CEO RJ Scaringe, who led Pritzker on a guided tour of the vehicles. "Rivian is going to be one of the largest car companies in the world, and it's going to be based right here in Normal — its manufacturing is," said Pritzker. "I'm thrilled ... for the people of Normal and for Illinois that we have manufacturing that's reviving in our state, and this is advanced manufacturing with an advanced vehicle that's the leader in the world." The plant has nearly 200 employees and is expected to exceed 1,000 after the first Rivian vehicles hit the market in late 2020. Officials said the vast majority of those employed by Rivian in Normal are from the community, including former Mitsubishi workers who helped open, run and close the plant and are now overseeing its revival and conversion to a new kind of facility. "There's some changes we're seeing on the outside, but what's really happening is what's on the inside of the facility. We're bringing new equipment in. We're making changes to the layout of the plant, the lines," said Scaringe. "Once that's set up, we'll really start to ramp up, and that involves a lot of hiring. ... As the facility starts to get into full-line production, we're talking about thousands of jobs." Pritzker told Scaringe the variety of officials to attend Sunday showed Rivian can expect the full support of federal, state and local leaders who represent the area. The company is in line to receive more than $50 million in state and local incentives for the plant if it meets hiring and investment targets. U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, said Sunday's display confirmed his belief that Rivian will be for trucks what Tesla has been for passenger vehicles, and he's eager to help by promoting tax credits and investing in the workforce."I just heard today they're even thinking about expanding the plant further... so infrastructure in and out will be crucial," said LaHood. Rivian did not confirm Sunday if it has any plans to expand the plant. "Anything we can do in the way of state incentives to help the production and purchase of these vehicles, we want to look at," said State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, of how the state government can help Rivian. "Having the governor here to see firsthand what we're talking about is a big plus for that." Normal Mayor Chris Koos said he took the interest in Sunday's event — with thousands swarming Uptown Circle to see the vehicles up close but not touch or drive them — as "validation" the town was wise to invest in the company, and Rivian holding the event was "affirmation" it values that relationship. "This backs up of what Rivian tells us: that they're committed to this community, they like this community, their employees like being in this community, and this is their way of saying, 'We're here,'" he said. "This is something you can see and know it's going to be manufactured in Normal." Rivian's signage Sunday reflected that partnership, reading "adventurous together." Patrick Hoban, CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, said he hopes Sunday's festivities bring more attention to McLean County and pave the way for economic growth, including around the plant. "When it comes to finding suppliers, going out and telling the story of how (Rivian is) successful here only helps," he said. "Their story is our story. When they succeed, we're all going to succeed." source: Photos provided by: DAVID PROEBER, THE PANTAGRAPH KARL MARTIN, FACEBOOK
  • Nearly two years after Rivian first arrived in Normal, community members will finally be able to see the company’s first electric vehicles in person. Rivian is planning a community event from 1-4 p.m. Oct. 13 in Uptown Normal. Rivian’s battery-powered R1T pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle will be on display. The EV maker is also recruiting employees for its Normal manufacturing plant, which now has around 130 employees. Rivian has said it plans to hire as many as 1,000 workers by 2024. Several jobs in Normal are now posted on Rivian’s websites , including maintenance technician, battery manufacturing engineer, facilities engineer, packaging engineer, and quality assurance engineer. Rivian plans to begin making its first vehicles in Normal next year. “Normal’s experienced workforce, existing plant infrastructure, and beautiful location made the city a natural home for us,” Rivian said in a statement Thursday. “We’re excited to build our electric adventure vehicles in collaboration with this community.” Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe will be in Normal for the Oct. 13 event. The company will also have a temporary storefront displaying Rivian history and plant photos at One Uptown Circle. Parking will be available at the public parking garage at Uptown Station; EV charging is available there. Attendees using public transportation should use the Uptown Station bus stop. Cyclists will find bike racks in the parking structure at Uptown Station. source: