A Central Illinois startup company is trying to jump aboard manufacturing electric cars for the future. Thousands of people attended an event to see prototypes of electric vehicles Rivian Automotive plans to create, an effort that already has the backing of officials through promised tax breaks and incentives.
The company held a public event Sunday in Normal to show the community three vehicles it plans to begin creating at the former Mitsubishi plant, which the startup bought in 2017 two years after it closed.
The factory, which has already hired 200 employees, is expected to have more than 1,000 by the time the startup’s vehicles hit the market late next year. State and local officials are rallying behind the venture.
In February, Amazon invested $7 million in the company and Ford Motor Company followed suit in April with another half-billion dollars, becoming a minority partner gaining access to the company’s seven member board. Illinois officials have promised the company more than $50 million in state and local incentives for the factory in Normal if it meets hiring and investment targets according to The Pantagraph. Many of the company’s employees are former Mitsubishi employees.
Governor J.B. Pritzker, State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington, and 18th District Congressman Darin LaHood were all on hand for the unveiling of the company’s pickup and SUV models. All three said they were going to work to promote tax credits and help investment in the local workforce. Rivian has been working up to the unveiling since coming to Normal in 2016.
Rivian says the R1T pickup truck will start at $69,000 and the Rivian R1S SUV will begin at $72,500. Both prices are before a $7,500 federal tax credit. Rivian is currently taking refundable $1,000 deposits on the vehicles. The vehicles are expected to begin sales in late 2020.