American EV startup, Rivian is already making plans to set up operations outside its home country. The Normal, Illinois-based company targets a third plant in the UK and has held talks with some ministers.
Reuters report Rivian has been in contact for weeks with authority, and a production plant could materialize in a 616-acre site in Bristol, southwestern England. The plant will produce vehicles, although battery production is not entirely ruled out.
Both parties have been discussing how Rivian will commit, and it is thought to be in the region of £1 billion or $1.39 billion. Rivian is a well-funded company with backing from giants like Amazon, Ford, Cox Automotive, etc. It recently completed another round of funding that added more than $2 billion to its coffers and brought its total investments to over $10.5 billion. There is also the 100,000 electric van order by Amazon, valued at over $5 billion.
Financial buoyancy notwithstanding, Rivian will likely benefit from a sizable support package like incentives, subsidies, or tax breaks from the government.
The proposed UK plant will help Rivian tap into the UK EV market, which is set to experience a boom with an impending ban on the sale of new lightweight internal combustion engine vehicles. However, the plant could still end up in another country as there is competition among European countries for who will host Rivian.
Rivian already has a plant in Illinois where advanced work is ongoing to make its SUV and electric truck ready for delivery. Deliveries should have started, but Rivian had to postpone to later this year due to the Covid restrictions. It is believed to be scouting for a location for its second plant in the US, with plans to spend $5 billion on its construction.
Nissan has committed to expanding its facilities too in the UK to handle the production of electric vehicles. Recently Rivian applied for patents for names of six electric models it plans to introduce in the future. The names cover both SUVs and pickup trucks.