Another secretive startup, another web site with pix of smiling multicultural techies and vaguely-worded flights of eloquence about redefining the automobile. But now Rivian Automotive has taken a concrete step towards realizing its dreams, buying a 2.4-million-square-foot former Mitsubishi factory in Normal, Illinois.
According to county records, the company paid $2 million for the 500-acre site. It said it plans to invest more than $40 million in the plant by 2022, and begin building EVs there in 2019. Local governments have awarded Rivian a $1 million grant and a 5-year tax abatement, contingent on the company investing $175 million and hiring 1,000 people by 2024.
Mitsubishi and Chrysler developed the Normal factory in 1988. It includes stamping machines, injection molding equipment, robots, CNC machine tools, cranes and other equipment, and has an annual capacity of about 250,000 vehicles. Mitsubishi shut down the factory last year.
Rivian Automotive was founded as Mainstream Motors in 2009, became Rivian in 2011, and moved its base from Florida to Detroit in 2015. In buying the disused Mitsubishi plant, it’s taking a page from the playbook of Tesla, which famously rejuvenated a former GM/Toyota plant in Northern California,