Rivian is aiming to ramp up its first round of production later this year, with plans to build a number of different products, both under the Rivian brand and for other companies as well. This includes a new SUV for GM’s crosstown rival, Ford, as well as a fleet of delivery vans for Amazon. Now, new production details on the various Rivian EV products are coming to light.
Production will take place at Rivian’s manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois, which the company purchased from Mitsubishi in 2017 for $16 million. The plant was subsequently reconfigured and expanded in order to accommodate the upcoming line of Rivian EV products.
Every Rivian EV prototype produced thus far has come from Rivian’s Engineering and Design Center in Plymouth, Michigan. Rivian’s first pilot-build vehicles slated for production at the Illinois facility will kick off in Q3 of 2020. Full production of Rivian’s R1T electric pickup will begin in December, while the Rivian R1S electric SUV will hit production three months later.
The Rivian EV factory will dedicate a production line to production of the company’s underlying “skateboard chassis,” which will carry over to all Rivian products, including those for Ford and Amazon. The skateboard chassis includes the batteries, electric motors, and suspension pieces, on top of which the vehicle body is then placed. The factory will also dedicate a line towards the production of EV battery packs.
With Rivian handling the underlying chassis, Ford is developing its own “top hat” body for its luxury upcoming all-electric SUV, which is believed to be a forthcoming Lincoln product.
The plant will have two final assembly lines, one of which will be for high-content products like those for Ford and Rivian, and the other of which will handle the low-content Amazon delivery vans.
GM was previously in talks with Rivian about becoming a minority stakeholder in the company, but according to reports, negotiations eventually broke down over Rivian’s insistence on licensing technology to other automakers.