Rivian has apparently been negotiating with the British government over the course of several weeks, according to a media report. If this is correct, the talks, which are not yet at an advanced stage, concern the construction of a plant near Bristol.
According to Sky News, with reference to industry contacts, the US company has identified a 250-hectare campus called ‘Gravity’ as a possible location. The article does not provide further details on plans for the plant and its possible scope.
The sources do, however, point to the early stage of talks, which are apparently already being held at ministerial level on the part of the British government. Alternative locations competing for Rivian’s planned European plant are in the Netherlands and Germany, and perhaps even Hungary if earlier reports are to be believed.
If Rivian chooses the UK, the company would invest “well over a billion pounds” in the site. Sky News sees a “further major boost for the country’s automotive sector” in the event of a positive decision – after Nissan and Vauxhall owner Stellantis had already recently confirmed their intention to continue operating their UK plants and to convert them for electric mobility.
Rivian’s European plans currently differ from those for its second US plant. The company is planning a combined plant with vehicle and battery cell production as part of “Project Tera”. As Sky News puts it, talks for the possible plant near Bristol are said to “focus on a Rivian vehicle manufacturing facility rather than batteries” – but it is possible that negotiations “could still shift towards a Gigafactory”.
The ‘Gravity’ industrial park is located south of Bristol near the Bristol Channel and is connected by the M5 motorway. The park offers companies the opportunity to buy or rent buildings and land, and describes itself as a “blueprint for a smarter, cleaner future”.
Rivian Automotive currently has a production facility in the US. The company bought a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal in the US state of Illinois in 2017, where the electric transporters for Amazon and the two debut models R1S and R1T are now assembled.
It is uncertain which models will be built in the European plant. Rivian wants to deliver electric vehicles in Europe from the beginning of 2022: this will likely start with production from the US. While there have been rumours about smaller models for Europe and China for some time, Rivian has made no official announcement as yet. The company has, however, secured naming rights for further models.