Detroit-Based Startup Rivian Purchases Old Mitsubishi Plant In Illinois

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【Summary】Electric-vehicle startup Rivian Automotive has purchased Mitsubishi’s old factory where it will begin manufacturing electric cars by 2019.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Feb 21, 2017 12:10 PM PT

Rivian Automotive, a Michigan-based electric-vehicle startup, is looking to follow closely in Tesla's footsteps. Just like Tesla Motors, which started its electric-car production out of a factory that was once operated jointly between Toyota and General Motors, Rivian Automotive recently purchased Mitsubishi Motor's old facility in Normal, IL, reports Teslarati

The History Of The Plant

The old, 2.4-million-square-foot factory has been through quite a few hands before ending up with Rivian Automotive, Teslarati points out. Before being purchased by the Michigan-based startup, the factory was purchased by Maynard Industries, a liquidation firm, last June for approximately $2.5 million. The deal didn't include any of the plant's machinery. 

Rivian Automotive's purchase of the factory was for an undisclosed amount. But the electric-vehicle startup plans to invest roughly $40.5 million into the plant over the next five years, with production set to begin by 2019. The town of Normal, IL, which is located roughly 130 miles southwest of Chicago, granted the company with a $1 million grant and five-year tax abatement, reports Teslarati

The grant and the tax abatement is contingent upon Rivian Automotive investing roughly $175 million into the old plant and hiring 1,000 employees through 2024. According to the report, Rivian Automotive began discussing the idea of purchasing the plant in back in September, before officially announcing that an agreement had been reached to purchase the old facility in December. 

"We had all but given up hope on a buyer for the Mitsubishi Plant," stated Mark Peterson, Town of Normal City Manager, in a report, claims Teslarati

In a comment to Teslarati, Town of Normal Mayor Chris Koos stated, "as a community, we are thrilled that Rivian has chosen us. It is incredibly rare that a major manufacturing facility in Midwest shutters and then finds new life." 

The old factory, which was built by Mitsubishi and Chrysler in 1988 was capable of producing roughly 250,000 cars a year. The factory was shut down last year. 

Rivian Automotive's History

Rivian Automotive was founded back in 2009 under the name of Mainstream Motors in Florida. The company later changed its name to Avera Automotive and then once again in 2011 when it settled on Rivian Automotive. The company relocated its headquarters to Detroit, MI in 2015 after it received financial assistance from an anonymous investor, reports Teslarati

According to the company's new website, Rivian Automotive claims that it is "developing a flexible electric platform that will underpin our launch portfolio." The vehicle, as Rivian Automotive points out, focuses on "outstanding performance, efficiency, packaging, durability and safety." 

Rivian Automotive decided to choose a different route than Faraday Future, who claims to have roughly 64,000 reservations for one of its vehicles after the debut of the FF91 EV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and Lucid Motors, who recently unveiled its first electric car at CES. Both companies decided to build manufacturing plants for its electric cars from scratch. 

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