Founded just 10 years ago, Rivian is focused on what it calls 'sustainable transportation.'
A Normal-based automotive company that’s on a cutting edge of technology received a shot in the arm this week when another outside investor enlisted in the effort.
Rivian, which is planning to produce electric pickup trucks and SUVS, announced that Cox Automotive is making a $350 million investment in the company. Previous investors include Ford ($500 million) and Amazon ($700 million).
Cox Automotive owns Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim auto auctions. Rivian officials said the two companies will jointly pursue logistics and digital retailing projects.
The Michigan-based company took over the old Mitsubishi plant in 2017 and employs 130 people there. It is scheduled to begin producing electric vehicles next year.
The company has estimated it will produce roughly 20,000 vehicles during its first two years with a longterm goal of 250,000 vehicles a year.
Obviously, it’s an ambitious forecast that has been and will continue to be enormously expensive. But Rivian has impressed a lot of people.
It has produced prototype trucks and SUVs that offer impressive performance and can travel up to 400 miles on a single electric charge.
The question, of course, is how Rivian’s vehicles will fare in a marketplace where they must compete with GM and Fiat Chryler, not to mention foreign auto companies. They’re all looking into electric vehicles, and the future looks bright in terms of this kind of innovation.
If it works out for Rivian, it will be blessing for the people of central Illinois and the state. That’s because the company hopes to create 1,000 jobs by 2024, meaning more people will be earning good wages and paying taxes. Rivian remains a long way from achieving that goal. But the company’s progress and other companies’ interest in joining it are hopeful signs.