EV maker Rivian considers building $5bn auto plant in Texas

Californian electric vehicle company Rivian is reportedly in discussions to invest at least $5bn in a factory near Fort Worth, Texas, according to reports by news agency Bloomberg.

The company, which makes SUVs and pick-ups, made a presentation to the city’s economic development department that gave details of its plans for “project Tera”.

The presentation said the plant would produce around 200,000 vehicles a year and create at least 7,500 jobs offering annual wages of at least $56,000 by 2027.

It would be located on an 800ha site west of the city, and the $5bn capital investment includes at least $2bn on site improvements and $1.6bn in construction costs. The company would agree to complete its initial investments by the end of 2024.

The company said in a statement that it was considering a number of possible locations for its second factory and that this was part of a “competitive process”. Typically, states and cities in America hold what is in effect an auction to attract a large development that promises to create mass employment, with each bidding to offer the best tax breaks and benefits.

To attract the Rivian, Fort Worth is offering grants and tax abatements of up to $440m. This is considerably better than the $65m Tesla gained for its 5,000-job plant in Austin last year (see further reading).

It is understood that Arizona is also bidding for the plant.

Robert Sturns, the director of economic development for Fort Worth, said in an email this week that the city was “very excited to be a finalist for this project and looks forward to continuing the process”.

He added that several states were still under consideration, although the City of Fort Worth believed it offered a number of competitive advantages, including access to talent and the “ability to stand up production fast”.  

According to the Reuters news agency, the new factory will make batteries as well as SUVs, and could break ground next year.

Image: Debut of the Rivian R1S SUV at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show (Richard Truesdell/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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