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Rivian Automotive LLC
TypePrivate (LLC)
Founded2009; 12 years ago (2009)
FounderRobert "RJ" Scaringe
United States
Number of locations
Key people
  • RJ Scaringe CEO
  • Jiten Behl CGO
  • Claire McDonough[2] CFO
  • Nick Kalayjian EVP of Engineering[3]
ProductsSemi-autonomous and electric vehicles, batteries
Number of employees
4500+ (November 2020[4])

Rivian is an American electric vehicle automaker and automotive technology company founded in 2009. Rivian is based in Irvine, California with its manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois and other facilities in Plymouth, Michigan, Palo Alto, Carson, California, Vancouver, and the United Kingdom.[1] In 2017, Rivian announced it was building an electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) and pickup truck on a platform that executives claim can be modified for future vehicles or adapted by other companies. Both vehicles will be semi-autonomous and are designed for both on-road and off-road driving.


The company was founded in 2009[5][6] by CEO Robert "RJ" Scaringe, who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a doctorate in mechanical engineering.[7] After being renamed Avera Automotive and then Rivian Automotive,[5][6][8][9] the company began focusing on autonomous[5] electric vehicles in 2011.[7][10] Rivian received a large investment and grew significantly in 2015, opening research facilities in Michigan and the Bay Area.[11] Relocating headquarters to Livonia, Michigan to be closer to key suppliers,[12] Rivian began working exclusively on electric autonomous vehicles, specifically building an "entire ecosystem" of related products.[5] It also began gearing its prototypes towards the "ride-sharing and driverless car markets."[13]

A 2011 prototype from Rivian, introduced by Scaringe

It was reported in September 2016 that Rivian was negotiating to buy a manufacturing plant formerly owned by Mitsubishi Motors in Normal, Illinois.[14][6] In January 2017, Rivian acquired the plant[14][11] and its manufacturing contents for $16 million,[15][6] with the plant to become Rivian's primary North American manufacturing facility.[5] Rivian's acquisition of a near production-ready facility instead of building a new factory[11] has been likened to Tesla's acquisition of the NUMMI plant in California.[15][6] The company received a $1 million grant and a five-year tax abatement from Normal contingent on meeting employment targets and investing $40.5 million over five years.[5] Rivian also received $49.5 million in tax credits from the state government;[15] these credits are also contingent upon meeting employment targets and investing at least $175 million into the site by 2024.[6]

Rivian employed around 100 people at the end of 2016,[13][12] and that number grew to 160 by August 2017.[12] Sumitomo Corporation made a "strategic investment" in Rivian in December 2017,[7][16][17] and Rivian reported that its alpha prototypes were complete and undergoing testing.[16] Also that month, Rivian revealed its first two products: an electric five-passenger pickup truck and an electric seven-passenger SUV,[17][7][10] provisionally named the A1T and A1C respectively.[18] With both vehicles unveiled at the LA Auto Show in November 2018,[10][19] production is scheduled to begin in 2020[7] with the truck to launch first.[17] Both vehicles were described as ready for rough terrain and semi-autonomous, and the company outlined a plan for its next generation of models to be fully autonomous.[19]

Rivian had 250 employees at the start of 2018.[7] In May 2018, Rivian received $200 million in debt financing from Standard Chartered Bank,[10] bringing total raised funds to upwards of $450 million.[17] Other investors at the time included Abdul Latif Jameel.[10][20] As of February 2019, Rivian employed 750 people[21] across facilities in Michigan, Illinois, California, and the United Kingdom. Around 50 of those employees were in Normal, putting Rivian ahead of its local job-creation targets.[22][7]

In February 2019, Amazon announced it would be leading an investment round of $700 million into Rivian. The round included participation from existing shareholders as well.[23] In April 2019, Ford Motor Company invested $500 million.[24] As of June 2019 the company employed over 1,000 people.[25] As a result of the fallout surrounding the 2020 Covid-19 health crisis, Ford terminated the Rivian contract.[26] While the manufacturer will be shifting production to their Lincoln Motors team, they are also maintaining the relationship with Rivian.

In September 2019, Cox Automotive invested $350 million into Rivian, bringing the total raised in 2019 to $1.5 billion. Rivian remains independent, but Cox Automotive plans to add a representative to Rivian's board as part of the investment.[27]

Later that month, Amazon ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian, as part of its plan to convert its delivery fleet to 100% renewable energy by 2030.[28] Delivery of the vehicles will begin in 2021.[29] Amazon expects to have 10,000 electric vans in operation by 2022, but is not slated to take delivery of the entire 100,000 Rivian vans the contract calls for until 2030.[30] A 150-mile prototype for the Amazon electric delivery van was tested on public roads in early 2021, beginning in Los Angeles,[31] adding Denver by April 2021,[32] with plans to test in 16 US cities in different climate zones. Amazon expects to have 10,000 of the electric delivery vans on the road by the end of 2022.[32]

In November 2020, Rivian employed 3,000+ persons.[33]

Rivian raised capital of US$2.85 billion during 2019, through four major investments, including a US$500 million investment by Ford in April,[24] which "plans to use the Rivian Skateboard for a new battery electric vehicle," and US$1.3 billion investment round led by T Rowe Price announced in December to get the R1T truck and R1S SUV into production by late 2020.[34] In January 2021, Rivian raised $2.65 billion in another investment round led by T Rowe Price.[35]


Electric vehicles[edit]

R1T pickup at the 2018 LA Auto Show
R1S SUV at the 2018 LA Auto Show

In May 2018, Rivian stated that they had dubbed their upcoming truck with the working name A1T and their SUV with the working name A1C.[19] In November 2018, the truck and SUV were renamed the R1T and R1S, respectively.[36] Designed to be capable off-road, both models have 14 in (360 mm) of ground clearance.[19] The truck was claimed in early testing to be able to sprint from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in under 3 seconds, wade through 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) of water and climb a 45 degree incline.[19] The vehicles are Level 3 autonomous, and have extra features such as automated trailer backup.[37] According to Engadget, “the most expensive models will reach around 450 miles on a charge and feature the 800HP electric motor Scaringe said would beat Italian supercars.”[19] Rivian has said it is designing the vehicles to facilitate “car-sharing” with their autonomous features.[16]

Chassis and batteries[edit]

Because of a shared electric chassis, the R1T and R1S designs were aiming to have 91% shared components as of 2018.[19] The chassis includes braking, suspension, and cooling systems with a battery in the center.[38] Rivian refers to the relatively-flat, low-center-of-gravity base chassis as Skateboard, which makes for a chassis that is more straightforward to customize for various body types that might be placed above it.[34][38] Rivian intends to license the electric chassis to other manufacturers as a design base for machinery such as cars and other components.[18][39]

EV charging[edit]

In March 2021, Rivian announced ambitious plans to develop a network of public charging stations by 2023. Similar to competitor Tesla, they will offer a combination of fast chargers and slower destination chargers, and will also sell home chargers.[40] The target is for 600 Rivian-only Adventure Network sites with 3,500 DC fast chargers at high-traffic locations; 200kW will be the initial charging speed, with an eventual target of 300kW+. The company is also planning 10,000 destination chargers (Level 2, 11.5 kW ) — called Rivian Waypoints — at retail, lodging, dining businesses, as well as parks and other locations; Waypoint chargers will be available to all EVs with a J1772 connector.[41] Starting July 2021, Rivian will install, at no cost to the government, two Rivian Waypoint chargers at up to 50 Colorado State Parks and state recreation areas.[42][43][44]


As of 2020, the company had four primary locations. Its headquarters in Irvine, California[45] is dedicated to vehicle engineering, and design, propulsion and battery system development, and commercial functions. A facility in Plymouth, Michigan focuses on vehicle engineering, prototyping, supply chain, and accounting while a facility in Palo Alto, California develops self-driving technology and data.[3][7] The 2.6-million-square-foot factory in Normal, Illinois[6][5][45] manufactures[3] vehicle components such as battery packs.[10] The Normal plant has a paint shop, robotics, stamping machines, and other production equipment,[15][6] such as injection molding.[45] The company has additional office locations in Carson, California and the United Kingdom designated for electric power conversion and advanced engineering, respectively.[1]


On 20 December 2018, professional rock climber Alex Honnold announced his partnership with Rivian as a brand partner and collaborator.[46][47] During a live stream on 15 June 2019, Rivian announced plans to collaborate with the Honnold Foundation and nonprofit Casa Pueblo on a solar project aiming to establish a microgrid in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, a city that was severely affected by Hurricane Maria in 2017.[48][49][50] Rivian plans to repurpose used battery packs from its development vehicles into stationary energy storage units.[49][50] The microgrid is intended to grant residents access to electricity for core business and will be used daily to mitigate the high cost of energy in Puerto Rico, which is twice the U.S. national average.[49] The project is expected to launch in 2020.[49]

In 2019, Rivian partnered with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman to provide the first ever production pickups (VIN 000001 and 000002) for use as logistics vehicles and camera cars for Long Way Up. They also set up 240 level 2 and 3 charging stations, at 140 locations, along the route from Tierra del Fuego to Los Angeles.[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Careers – Rivian". rivian.com.
  2. ^ Truett, Richard (18 January 2021). "Rivian Hires Industry Outsider as Next CFO". Auto News. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Rivian". www.rivian.com. Archived from the original on 24 November 2018. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
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  11. ^ a b c Lambert, Fred (9 January 2017). "An electric vehicle startup comes out of stealth mode and buys shuttered Mitsubishi plant in Illinois". Electrek. Archived from the original on 10 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
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  14. ^ a b "Rivian bids on shuttered Mitsubishi plant in Illinois". 9 December 2016. Archived from the original on 28 June 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017 – via www.reuters.com.
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  22. ^ Prenzler, Christian (29 June 2018). "Editorial: The Perfect Storm is Creating a Promising Future for Rivian". AdaptBN. AdaptLocal Media, LLC. Archived from the original on 21 August 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
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  24. ^ a b Lienert, Paul; Ajmera, Ankit (24 April 2019). "Ford Motor puts $500 million into electric pickup producer Rivian". Reuters. US. Archived from the original on 26 April 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
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  29. ^ Channick, Robert. "'We have a new automaker, for real': Rivian to build 100,000 electric vans for Amazon at its Illinois factory, starting in 2021". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
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  35. ^ Foldy, Ben (19 January 2021). "Electric-Truck Maker Rivian Raises $2.65 Billion Ahead of First Vehicle Launch". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
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  41. ^ "Charging your Rivian – Rivian Stories". Exposure. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  42. ^ Webb, Dennis (21 March 2021). "CPW panel OKs moving forward on deal to put EV chargers in parks". The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  43. ^ "Panel OKs agreement to install electric vehicle chargers in Colorado state parks". The Denver Post. 23 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
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External links[edit]

Media related to Rivian Automotive at Wikimedia Commons