Rivian in talks with Georgia, about setting up a plant along I-20 straddling Walton and Morgan counties about an hour’s drive east of Atlanta. Next Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp and Rivian officials are expected to hold a ceremony to outline the project. Georgia and Rivian deal will make it a deal that officials hope will make the state a leader in the next generation of the automotive industry.
The company has been seeking a second U.S. manufacturing site to build vans, SUVs and trucks where it would employ thousands. The plant would rank as one of Georgia’s largest-ever economic development projects.
A spokeswoman for Irvine, California-based Rivian declined to comment. Georgia officials have declined to comment publicly on the talks. The project is said to be a multibillion-dollarinvestment that would ultimatelyproduce 200,000 vehicles a year and employ perhaps 8,000 people at full production before the end of the decade.
The Rivian factory would be the first automotive assembly facility in Georgia since Kia Motors announced in 2006 it would build a plant in West Point near the Alabama border. It also follows decades of recruiting near-misses after several large traditional automakers chose to build manufacturing plants in neighboring states.
EVs make up just 2% of auto sales today but are expected to grow exponentially amid tightening fuel standards, lower costs of production, and consumer shifts to more environmentally friendly transportation.
Rivian started delivering its first vehicles in September. The company went public in November and was valued on Friday at about $95 billion, greater than that of General Motors or Ford, in part because Wall Street sees Rivian as a potential leader in the electric future.
Facing its challenges
Rivian has ambitious goals but a steep climb to reach them while facing challenges by Tesla and other established industry players who are also investing billions in EVs.
State officials identified Rivian earlier this year as one of its biggest economic development targets and prepared a bounty of incentives likely to be valued well into the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants, worker training, tax credits, and other perks. The details of those incentives are not fully known. Auto plants are coveted for the jobs they create and the potential for thousands more fromsuppliers. Critics say automakers often pit states against one another in expensive bidding wars for factories when factors like workforce and supply chain play far bigger roles in a company’s decision-making.