Take a look inside the EV maker's Illinois-based production plant.
It's been nearly two weeks since Rivian, the new American startup that is gearing up to enter the EV market, shut down all its facilities in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was an expected but disappointing setback for the new player in the market that hasn't even begun building vehicles yet. However, the brand wants to keep employee spirits (and the public's anticipation) high and has released a video progress report detailing the work being done to ready its production plant. Of course, it was filmed prior to the shutdown.
In case you've been hiding under a Tesla-sized rock, Rivian plans to launch two products, the R1T pickup truck and the R1S SUV. The R1T is an especially intriguing offering in the truck-crazy local market; it will have up to 750 horsepower but thankfully does without the freakish design of the Cybertruck. It's no surprise, then, that the brand has garnered so much attention.
In the newly released video, workers are seen milling around in what is said to be a 2.5-million square-foot construction area. The ultra-modern facility is located in Normal, Illinois, and one of the employees commented excitedly on the plant by saying: "it's invigorating. It's getting that much closer to building cars on that line." Later in the video, 11 testing chambers with walls that are 14 inches thick are shown partially completed and will be used for extended testing of batteries.
"The people, the excitement, the prospect of building an electric vehicle and changing the landscape of how we transport people… it's surreal," enthuses one of the speakers in the video. With funding from Amazon and Ford, along with what looks like two super competitive products, Rivian is well-positioned to pose a serious threat to Tesla's dominance in the high-end EV market.
Production of vehicles at the Illinois plant was slated to get underway in December, but depending on how long the shutdown lasts, it may be challenging for the EV automaker to meet this goal. Still, it's great to see that the production plant has made excellent progress so far and everything points towards the R1T and R1S being well worth the wait.
"At the end of the day, we all want the same thing. We want to be delivering a quality vehicle to our customers and we can only do that by working together," says another worker. We're holding thumbs that Rivian gets to resume operations sooner rather than later.