Rivian Automotive: suspect project that wants to reopen the plant to Mitsubishi in Illinois
4 years ago

Rivian Automotive: suspect project that wants to reopen the plant to Mitsubishi in Illinois

aerial Image of the factory Mitsubishi in Normal, Illinois.

New projects are born every year, initiatives of all kinds trying to get into the complex business world of the automobile, in many cases promising even revolutionize the market with its new technology. Some of lower importance, but others of great importance, namely the case of Faraday’s Future, however, the majority of these new projects tend to have something in common, their early demise.

we have Recently been informed of a new project in the united States, although new is not the adjective that best defines you, thanks to the reports indicate that the recently closed plant Mitsubishi Illinois could return to the life of the hand of Rivian Automotive. An unknown, and all mysterious company that seeks to reactivate the immense plant which was closed in January of this year.

The plant in question is located in the town of Normal, Illinois, and was born as a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler in 1988. It left models as the Plymouth Laser, or Mitsubishi Eclipse, until in 1995 the plant was in the hands exclusively of the japanese company. Until January, they made the crossover Outlander, and a capacity of 3,000 workers had only in his last times with a workforce of about 1.000.

Input of the plant Mitsubishi Normal, Illinois.

Taking into account that Normal is a population of less than 60,000 inhabitants, the decline and subsequent closure of the plant has been a blow for their citizens, so that the news of a new opening has been welcomed with open arms by that community.

The problem arose when we were trying to find information about this new company, it seems that it was founded a few years ago in Florida. Your Twitter account has not posted even a single tweet since it was opened in 2011 and its website does not show anything, except his own name, and the ubiquitous “Coming soon”, and the reports that we have been able to find in a first moment are pretty confused about this company.

At the beginning of this decade, Rivian Automotive was in Florida, and announced the arrival of a new generation of models that not only promised to be very efficient, but that would be very attractive and especially economic. The “magic system” announced by this company founded by a then recent graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, R. J. Scaringe, was not to invest in costly machinery and production systems and robotics for to bet on the hand of human work, which would allow better production costs and more quickly. Exactly the opposite of what is well-known in any industry that produces in series.

R. J. Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian Automotive.

From that era there are very few images, but there was one that caught my attention, Scaringe next to a blue vehicle covered with a tarp, showing part of the side area. That image is from 2011 and in theory the first vehicle of this company was due to launch in 2013, a sporty and affordable with some figures of consumption outstanding, up to 60 miles per gallon or about 3.92 litres/100 kms (spectacular figure for any petrol model).

there are No additional images or reports of the vehicle. it was Never released or even unveiled.

so after checking that after several years of course development work is already suspicious company, not only is there no vehicle, but that or even are already in Florida. Interestingly, one of their slogans was something like “we’re building this vehicle because it does not exist”, a slogan, quite prescient.

Emblem of Rivian Automotive.

The following reports we can find, after a good while reviewing a long list of results of search Google, we find new information of the company in Dearborn, Michigan, which means that instead of hiring the huge amount of engineers from NASA as featured on your day, have decided at some point to move to the north, to the area where the big three of the u.s. industry, have their headquarters and where you will find a large part of the fabric of american industry related to the motor world.

Currently, the company continues announcing the development of a new generation of vehicles ultraeficientes, however, do not appear to have submitted anything since 2009.

so if initially we wondered to what I would like is a small start-up to a gigantic factory newly abandoned, which is, with over 223,000 square metres serves only for the manufacture in series of tens of thousands of units per year, now we can only ask where they’re going to get the huge amount of money, you can assume to re-activate these facilities, which as seen in the images is simply immense, not suitable for projects of small scale.

The plant Mitsubishi Normal, closed since January 2016.

so looking for information on the economics of the company, we have stumbled upon a few reports that add even more unknowns to the trajectory of this company. In an article from last month of June the blog The Capitolist, we find the perfect summary of the history of this company, which is details the considerable contribution that it has had in the form of public subsidies these years.

Initially, the company is called Avera Motors, and obtained in 2009 a more than juicy grant of 2.2 million dollars to create your vehicle superefficient. Shortly after, changed the name to Rivian Automotive, and after spending 2.2 million of the grant and receive by its founder award “entrepreneur of the year” in 2011, or even presented a single vehicle.

One of the people who voted for that grant was Debbie Mayfield, Senator of the united States from 2016 and currently wife of Robert Scaringe, one of the three directors of the company and parent of R. J. Scaringe, the founder of the aforementioned company.

Debbie Mayfeld during his campaign to the Senate of the united States.

At that time, Mayfield was part of the House of Representatives and was already a partner of Robert Scaringe, not married until the year 2015.

In 2015, after you have spent the budget and without having submitted anything, or have hired hundreds of workers who had been promised to them, the company moved to Michigan, where it is now negotiating the purchase of the plant of Mitsubishi in Normal, about 5 hours drive from Dearborn.

According to the authorities of Normal, the announced plans for the new factory are to five years, to re-open in 2021, hiring some 500 people initially to increase gradually to a workforce of about 1,000 employees. According to the same authorities, the company will invest 175 million from here to 2024 on the ground.

R. J Scaringe, founder and CEO of Rivian Automotive.

This figure for a project of seven years, to be real, it seems clearly insufficient for a project of some scale. As an example, only in the plant of GM in Bowling Green, where only manufactures the Corvette, have invested 570 million in the last two years to expand and modernize certain areas, although it is also speculated that such an investment could be due to a necessary restructuring to accommodate the future production Corvette mid-engine.

That aims to make a company like Rivian with those huge facilities and a budget so low is a mystery, since you don’t really know in which they are working. Robert Scaringe father is owner of an engineering company in Florida, Mainstream Engineering corp., among its clients the Army and Navy of the united States, but there are no previous reports that they will increase their facilities or production capacity.

Currently, after the project Rivian we can find names such as
Lawrence Achram
, former vice president of Chrysler, and Larry Erickson, a
designer who has worked in General Motors and Ford. Interestingly, one
of the signings, the most notorious of this small company was the Peter
, the designer of the McLaren F1. This was premiered as a Director
Design Rivian in August 2011, although ceased already in February
, barely 6 months after.

Peter Stevens and R. J. Scaringe in a picture of 2011.

On your personal website we can find some of
the sketches that you developed for the company, then in Florida,
including a version of competition, apparently created for a cup
brand for Brazil.

Only time will tell if Rivian really developing these 7 years a true and superefficient vehicle, or if we are simply to another project that only sells smoke, to put it in politically correct way. Let’s hope that the taxpayers of Illinois don’t have to repent tomorrow.

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