Illinois should not blunder an opportunity to become site of Rivian Automotive Inc.’s next factory. Out of the west Normal Rivian plant, there is rare economic motion for our state that should not be squelched.
The electric vehicle maker has said it is discussions with multiple locations for the plant, which would be the company’s second after the Normal facility.
Bloomberg said that “the Texas site has become the front-runner for Rivian,” according to people familiar with the discussions.
Rivian unsurprisingly isn’t talking about specifics.
From the editorial board: "In speaking to law enforcement leadership, none could cite examples of a media outlet using scanner traffic inappropriately. There’s no reason to believe any would suddenly act somehow different now."
Neither are Illinois officials.
The rebirth of the shuttered Mitsubishi Motors North America plant in Normal has been astonishing, despite setbacks and Rivian delaying the production launch over a global microchip shortage.
Irvine, Calif.-based Rivian has bought hundreds of acres for future expansions in Normal and a $7.5 million electric vehicle workforce development program is coming to Heartland Community College.
Other EV investments popping up across the state include Canadian electric vehicle maker Lion Electric Co., which is creating a 900,000-square-foot plant in Joliet to make electric buses and trucks.
In Lemont, Argonne National Laboratory is already researching batteries.
A report by BW Research Partnership projects the electric transportation sector in Illinois will increase by 83% by 2024. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has said Central Illinois could become the electric vehicle “Silicon Valley of the 21st Century."
The state already has a proud history of vehicle manufacturing, with plants in Chicago and Belvidere. The roots of Caterpillar and Deere are deep. Our universities are world-class.
At the same time, President Joe Biden has announced an ambitious agenda to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 be America-made zero-emissions vehicles. The American Jobs Plan has $174 billion going to electric vehicle charging stations and vehicle buyer tax credits by 2030.
Added up, Illinois is positioned to become an electric vehicle leader at a time when there is unprecedented interest in this nascent manufacturing sector.
Rarely is Illinois associated with words “economic success.” But signs are pointing that way.
Clean energy has been a focus of Gov. J.B. Pritzker economic development plan. He’s called himself the state’s “chief marketing officer.”
Here’s to hoping that includes continuing the state’s promising EV momentum.
Will Rivian be the ‘Tesla of trucks?’
How long has Rivian been around?
Who is RJ Scaringe?
How fast is Rivian growing?
Where are Rivian vehicles being built?
How many vehicles does Rivian plan to build each year?
Rivian has been around for 12 years, but has yet to sell a single vehicle. What has it been doing all those years?
What’s holding up production?
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