Rivian EV plant heads to Georgia at site east of Atlanta

The project would be multibillion dollars investment which ultimately produce 200,000 vehicles a year and employ perhaps 8,000 people at full production by the end of the decade.

The Rivian plant is said to be Georgia’s first auto assembly plant since Kia Motors announced in 2006 that it would build a plant in West Point, near the Alabama border. It also follows decades of narrowly avoided hiring after several large mainstream automakers chose to build manufacturing plants in neighboring states.

The AJC first released details of the negotiations on November 15.

Electric vehicles represent only 2% of automobile sales today, but are expected to experience exponential growth amid tighter fuel standards, lower production costs and consumers’ transition to more environmentally friendly transport. the environment.

Rivian began delivering its first vehicles in September. The company went public in November and was valued at around $ 95 billion on Friday, more than that of General Motors or Ford, in part because Wall Street sees Rivian as a potential leader in the electric future.

Rivian has lofty goals but a steep climb to meet them while facing challenges from Tesla and other established industry players who are also investing billions in electric vehicles.

State officials identified Rivian earlier this year as one of his biggest economic development goals and prepared a host of incentives that could be valued at up to hundreds of millions of dollars in grants, worker training, tax credits and other benefits. The details of these incentives are not fully known.

Auto factories are coveted for the jobs they create and the potential for thousands more from Suppliers. Critics say automakers often pit states against each other in costly factory bidding wars when factors such as labor and supply chain play a much larger role in the decision making of a business.

The AJC first reported Georgia’s pursuit of Rivian in July. In November, the AJC first reported that Rivian was in an advanced stage of negotiations with state and county leaders east of Atlanta while simultaneously continuing discussions with other states, including Texas.

Kemp will undoubtedly tout Rivian’s investment as a testament to his handling of the economy as he faces a tough re-election next year, including a main challenge from former CEO and US Senator David Perdue. and a potential rematch with his 2018 rival, Stacey Abrams. .

To exploreAtlanta’s four-county metro area back in the spotlight with Rivian plant

The plant site would include 1,978 acres marketed as the “East Atlanta Megasite,” one of the largest industrial sites available in the state. The Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties Joint Development Authority, a government economic development agency, has approached several landowners to sell land near the megasite, according to five people who spoke to AJC.

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A map of the area where the Rivian factory could be located.

A map of the area where the Rivian factory could be located.
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A map of the area where the Rivian factory could be located.

The East Atlanta Megasite and other industrial properties in the region also have important rail links.

Many residents of the Rutledge area have raised concerns about the changes the mill could make to the rural character of the area.

Felton Jenkins, who lives in Washington state but whose family has owned farmland near the site of the proposed plant for generations, wrote Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe urging the company to look elsewhere .

“Our family did not buy and continue to own farmland here because we were hoping that a huge car factory would open across the street,” he said, expressing concern. regarding environmental damage. Just as Rivian refurbished an old auto plant in Illinois, Jenkins urged Rivian to redevelop an existing industrial site for his next plant.

Although one of Wall Street’s earliest darlings, Rivian is not yet a household name as his biggest electric rival Tesla. After a dozen years of development, the company didn’t start delivering its first vehicles until the fall from its original factory in Illinois.

Rivian’s first investors are T. Rowe Price, Amazon and Ford Motor.

Cox Enterprises, owner of AJC, owns a 4.7% stake in Rivian and provides services to Rivian. Sandy Schwartz, a Cox executive who oversees AJC, sits on Rivian’s board of directors and personally owns shares. He does not participate in the AJC cover of Rivian.

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A building that serves as the Rutledge liquor store is decorated for Christmas, urging passers-by to visit the small, rural town on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. “Curtis Compton / [email protected]” `

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton @

A building that serves as the Rutledge liquor store is decorated for Christmas, urging passers-by to visit the small, rural town on Wednesday, December 8, 2021.
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A building that serves as the Rutledge liquor store is decorated for Christmas, urging passers-by to visit the small, rural town on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. “Curtis Compton / [email protected]” `

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton @

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton @

Rivian will be judged not only on the quality of its vehicles, but also on its ability to keep the promises already made.

Amazon, one of its major investors, has reached an agreement to acquire 100,000 Rivian delivery vans by 2030.

Rivian also says he has 55,000 pre-orders combined for his R1T luxury pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle. Its target is 1 million electric vehicle sales per year by the end of the decade. The Georgia plant and possibly other future assembly facilities will be critical to achieving these goals.

Georgia has strong ties to the auto industry, dating back to a Ford plant in 1915. Although Georgia has only one auto assembly plant in Kia, it has an extensive network of parts suppliers that employs tens of thousands of people and home to the Blue bus builder. Bird in Fort Valley.

In 2018, Georgia landed its biggest auto award since Kia when SK Battery America announced plans for a battery plant in Jackson County, north of Atlanta. The plant, valued at $ 2.6 billion, will be the heart of what powers electric vehicles.