Following its smashmouth initial public offering, Rivian Automotive Inc. is planning a host of expansion projects. With $12 billion now burning a hole in the company’s pockets, a new battery plant is high on the priority list.
The maker of the all-electric R1T pickup truck and the R1S SUV has expressed a desire to build a new stand-alone battery factory which would be required to feed the additional vehicle-assembly plants already in the works.
Rivian’s IPO last week was the sixth-largest in U.S history. After less than a week on the market, the company has seen its valuation soar past $100 billion. To date, Rivian has only really delivered R1T pickup trucks to employees, yet it already has a market valuation that makes General Motors – America’s biggest automaker in terms of sales volume – and Ford Motor Company – America’s biggest automaker in terms of manufacturing footprint – look poor.
According to Bloomberg, Arizona, Michigan, and Texas are among the states under consideration for the battery manufacturing site. Rivian currently assembles battery packs for the R1T alongside vehicle production at the automaker’s Normal, Illinois, factory.
If Michigan were to be chosen, that would mean that Rivian would find itself back in the Mitten State in a larger capacity, after relocating its headquarters to California because higher taxes and tent cities are more fashionable than snow and fresh water lakes.
We’re still some time out from a final decision being made regarding any of the sites. States across the country are lining up for battery plants as the auto industry begins to shift towards mainstream electrification. in September Ford announced plans to spend $11.4 billion in Kentucky and Tennessee to build three new battery factories.
Prior to its IPO, Rivian had only offered a skeletal outline regarding its future growth and expansion plans. The automaker will need to scale quickly in order to meet its ambitious production targets. Rivian is aiming to ramp up annual production from its Illinois facility to 200,000 vehicles by the end of 2023. At that point the company’s lone factory would be operating at maximum capacity.
Additionally, Rivian is looking at adding a second U.S-based vehicle assembly facility, along with a European facility. The European shop would be tasked with building BEV delivery vans for Amazon Inc, which recently disclosed a 20% ownership stake in the car company.
Though, with more battery plants, more battery materials are required, and that’s some sketchy math at the moment. Plus the manufacturing of electric vehicles are objectively a net negative pursuit as well in terms of CO2 offset.
But hey, we’re just a couple of bloggers, and we know nothing.